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Opposition victory ‘could turn Korea pro-China,’ ruling party chief warns in last rally

By Kim Arin

Published : April 9, 2024 - 22:36

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Han Dong-hoon, the leader of the People Power Party, speaks during a final rally Tuesday evening in Jongno, central Seoul. The National Assembly election is on Wednesday. (Yonhap) Han Dong-hoon, the leader of the People Power Party, speaks during a final rally Tuesday evening in Jongno, central Seoul. The National Assembly election is on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Han Dong-hoon, the ruling People Power Party leader, said that a Democratic Party of Korea victory in the National Assembly election slated for Wednesday would “topple South Korea-US alliance” and turn the country “pro-China” during a final rally on Tuesday evening in Seoul.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters, Han said that the Democratic Party would “weaken cooperation with the US, sour relations with Japan once again to ‘xie xie’ with China,” referring to the Democratic Party of Korea leader Rep. Lee Jae-myung’s recent remarks that sparked a controversy.

In a rally on March 22, Lee criticized President Yoon Suk Yeol’s China and Taiwan policies saying, “Why pester China. We can just ‘xie xie’ away.” The People Power Party slammed Lee’s remarks as “kowtowing to Beijing.”

Han urged his base to vote: “This election is so important. Every vote counts.”

Polls and analyses to date suggest a landslide win for the liberal opposition parties, which may together win as many as two-thirds of the Assembly seats, according to some of the more auspicious estimates.

“Fellow South Koreans, the time has come to decide whether our country will regress into chaos or rise above to continue progress. Just imagine an Assembly that is two-thirds Democratic Party and what it would be capable of doing,” he said.

With that many seats, the opposition could impeach the People Power Party president and revise the Constitution.

Han said that the leaders of the opposition -- Democratic Party’s Lee and Rebuilding Korea Party’s Cho Kuk -- would abuse their Assembly seats to protect themselves from taking accountability for criminal convictions.

“South Korea is a great country that was able to industrialize and democratize at the same time, and South Koreans are great people who were able to make it happen. The country we have built is too precious to let these criminal suspects do whatever they want with it,” the ruling party leader said.

Lee is facing trials over five different criminal cases, having to attend court almost weekly. Cho was sentenced to two years in prison in second trial for covering up an internal probe into a close aide of then-President Moon Jae-in while he was a presidential secretary and for cheating to get his children admitted to prestigious schools.