President Moon Jae-in during a recent Cabinet meeting (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in has canceled his summer holiday for a third consecutive year as COVID-19 cases surged again recently, according to Cheong Wa Dae sources on Sunday.
“The president had planned to take his holiday in early August but the plans were canceled,” a Cheong Wa Dae official said on condition of anonymity. Even though Moon might take time off “later,” she said, that seems unlikely for now with COVID-19 showing no immediate signs of abating here.
This is the third summer in which the president has canceled his holidays since his five-year tenure began in 2017.
In 2019, he canceled his holiday in response to Japanese export restrictions affecting key display and chip materials. Japan’s decision was widely seen as an act of retaliation against Korean court rulings in favor of Korean victims of forced labor during the years 1910-1945, when the nation was under Japanese colonial rule.
Last year Moon left for a holiday but immediately returned to inspect sites in Seoul after heavy rainfall caused damage.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Moon took no paid holidays last year and has not taken any leave this year. He took eight days off in 2017, 12 days in 2018 and five days in 2019.
Meanwhile, Cheong Wa Dae said Friday that its press center, Chunchugwan, would remain closed for another two weeks in line with the extended social distancing rules.
Chunchugwan has been shut temporarily since July 12 as a precaution. It is the first time that the facility, adjacent to the presidential office in central Seoul, has been closed since its establishment in 1990.
By Lee Ji-yoon (email@example.com