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Defector-turned-lawmaker quits Supreme Council over controversial remarksBy Yonhap
Published : May 10, 2023 - 10:26
Rep. Tae Yong-ho voluntarily resigned from the Supreme Council of the ruling People Power Party on Wednesday as the party's ethics committee was set to deliver disciplinary measures for him for making a series of controversial remarks.
The North Korean defector-turned-lawmaker made the decision in an apparent attempt to get the panel to take his voluntary resignation into consideration and reduce the level of disciplinary measure for him so that he can seek reelection.
He cannot run in the elections if given a one-year party membership suspension or heavier punishment.
"I don't want to put a burden on the party anymore," Tae said in an emergency press conference. "I am fully responsible for all the controversies so far. I am voluntarily resigning from the Supreme Council position."
Tae was referred to the committee in part for displaying what critics say was a distorted history perception by insisting the civil uprising on Jeju was obviously triggered on the instruction of North Korea's late national founder, Kim Il-sung.
He has also been under criticism over a phone conversation he had with senior presidential political affairs secretary Lee Jin-bok, in which Lee allegedly asked Tae to make remarks in support of Korea-Japan relations while talking about the issue of party nominations for next year's general elections.
Tae talked about Lee's alleged request during a meeting with his aides, and a local media outlet revealed the transcript of Tae's remarks recorded by one of the aides. Tae has since denied Lee made such a request, saying he made an exaggeration of what was said during the call with Lee.
He also came under fire after branding the main opposition Democratic Party as "JMS DP," referring to JMS, a controversial religious group embroiled in a series of sexual harassment cases involving its leader. Tae said J stands for junk, M for money and S for sex.
Tae, Pyongyang's former deputy ambassador to Britain, defected to South Korea in 2016 and was elected as a lawmaker here in 2020, becoming the first North Korean defector to do so.
The PPP runs a four-tier disciplinary system, which ranges from a warning to a maximum 3-year suspension in party membership, a recommendation to leave the party and an expulsion. A one-year party membership suspension or heavier disciplinary measures result in an inability to run for parliamentary elections.
The panel was also set to deliver a decision for another Supreme Council member, Kim Jae-won, for making controversial remarks. (Yonhap)
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