People’s Party Member Arrested for Making False Allegations Against President Moon’s Son

An alleged dirty trick that was used against President Moon during the presidential campaign has led to one arrest and maybe more to come:

Lee You-mi, a member of minor opposition People’s Party, enters the courthouse in Seoul for a court review on the prosecution’s request of her arrest warrant over false allegations she made against President Moon Jae-in’s son on June 29, 2017. (Yonhap)

A member of a minor opposition party was arrested Thursday for making false allegations about President Moon Jae-in’s son during the election campaign earlier this year.

A Seoul court approved the prosecution’s request for the arrest warrant for Lee You-mi, a member of the People’s Party, on charges of spreading misinformation in violation of the election law.

Lee is accused of fabricating a story in the lead up to the May 9 presidential election about an unfair hiring of Moon Joon-yong by a public agency in late 2006, when his father was a presidential secretary.

She had been held in custody for questioning by the prosecution since early this week.

Lee reportedly confessed to creating the anonymous tip-off by concocting an audio file and a captured screenshot of mobile phone chat disguising them as records of conversation with a man claiming to be a friend of Joon-yong’s exposing the alleged preferred treatment.

Lee handed them to a former senior party official named Lee Jun-seo. The prosecution has barred the official from overseas travel on suspicions that he is behind the smearing scheme. The prosecution is set to summon him for questioning this week.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but according to the article the former Presidential candidate for the people’s party Ahn Cheol-soo has not commented on this allegation yet.  If a political party is going to try and play dirty tricks like this they had better hope they win because as we have seen before President’s in Korea will go after their enemies.

Blue House Official Criticized for Writing Book with Sexist Themes

Probably not the smartest move to write a book saying things like this and then expect to be involved in politics:

Tak Hyun-min

Cheong Wa Dae official Tak Hyun-min, who got into hot water last month over sexist remarks, is under more fire after another book he co-wrote featured similar sentiments.

In “The more I talk, the freer I become” he wrote: “I lost my virginity to a middle school student when I was in high school. She was not pretty, but it didn’t matter because she was just a sex object.”

He even said he had “shared” the student with his classmates.

He also said: “Men’s sexual fantasy is always with teachers … when I was a student, I would feel horny even with pregnant teachers.'”  (………)

Even female lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) have called for Tak’s resignation.  (…….)

“Guidebook of Men’s Mind” contained phrases such as: “It’s like a terror attack against men if a woman with a flat chest wears a tank top.”  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link, but both conservative and liberal parties in Korea are calling for Mr. Tak to resign.

Picture of the Day: Prosecutors Try to Arrest Chung Yoo-ra for A Second Time

Prosecution tries to arrest Choi's daughter second time

Chung Yoo-ra, daughter of a woman on trial on corruption charges that brought down the country’s former president, appears at a Seoul court on June 20, 2017, for deliberation on her arrest writ. The prosecution sought a warrant for Chung’s arrest for the second time after the court rejected the previous request. The prosecution says Chung was aware of the bribes and law violations that her mother, Choi Soon-sil, is accused of, including her illegitimate college admission. Choi was a close associate of former President Park Geun-hye. (Yonhap)

Picture of the Day: Kang Kyung-wha Appointed as ROK Foreign Minister

President Moon Jae-in Sunday defiantly appointed Kang Kyung-wha foreign minister over the bitter objection of opposition parties, raising the prospect of war between the Blue House and ruling Democratic Party and the opposition going forward. Following weeks of controversy over Kang’s ethical breaches, especially a fake residential registration to allow her daughter to attend a school of her choice 17 years ago, Moon officially named the former United Nations official as foreign minister, making Kang the first female and non-career diplomat ever to lead the ministry responsible for foreign affairs. [Joong Ang Ilbo]

Ban Ki-moon to Leave Job at Harvard to Take Position at Yonsei University

For UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is returning soon to South Korea.  It will be interesting to see if in five years he will attempt to run for President again:

Ban Ki-moon

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will begin his tenure as distinguished professor and emeritus director of the Institute for Global Engagement at Yonsei University from July.

“The Institute for Global Engagement was established in April at the university to coordinate among students and professors activities including global and domestic missions and volunteer programs,” said Nam So-hyeon, a PR official at Yonsei University in western Seoul.

“It’s not yet decided what Ban will be teaching at the university.”

The university is also planning to open a sustainable growth center once Ban begins his tenure.

“Ban is known for his initiatives and engagement to combat climate change,” said Yonsei University President Kim Yong-hak.

“His participation at the center will bring about advances in its climate change research.”

Ban has been teaching at Harvard University as the Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow since April.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

President Moon Orders Investigation of Why THAAD Battery Was Deployed With All of Its Launchers

A standard THAAD battery comes with six launchers, you would think the President’s staff would know this, even Wikipedia knows this:

A Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery launcher is being installed on a former golf course in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province on Wednesday. /Yonhap

South Korea’s presidential office made it clear Tuesday that it has not received any formal briefing from the defense ministry on the presence of additional THAAD rocket launchers here.

The ministry said it has already briefed Cheong Wa Dae on the issue, responding to President Moon Jae-in’s call for a probe into the matter related to the allies’ missile defense system.

Moon said it’s “very shocking” that the ministry had kept secret or did not announce the introduction of four more THAAD rocket launchers, according to his spokesman Yoon Young-chan. The equipment arrived in Korea apparently weeks or months ago.

A ministry official, however, said Wee Seung-ho, deputy minister for policy, briefed Moon’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong on pending defense issues last Friday.

“At that time, he reported the entry of four additional launchers (into South Korea),” the official said on the condition of anonymity, adding it reflects the ministry’s official position.

Moon’s office refuted the ministry’s statement.

There was no report on the extra THAAD launchers waiting to be installed at a former golf course in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, which has been chosen as the THAAD site, said Cheong Wa Dae.

One thing that seems certain is that Moon did not receive any briefing on the subject during his visit to the ministry a week after taking office. It’s not clear whether he first raised the THAAD issue.

The State Affairs Planning Advisory Committee, a de-facto transition team for Moon, also said that it was told about only two THAAD launchers in operation, not about the other four, when receiving a briefing from the ministry.

The truth behind the dispute remains unconfirmed.  [Yonhap]

The Joong Ang Ilbo is reporting that the Defense Ministry may be trying avoid an environmental assessment for the four launchers:

“The president was briefed that four launchers, in addition to the two already installed in Seongju, were clandestinely brought in and stored in Korea,” Yoon Young-chan, senior secretary for public relations, said Tuesday. “Today, Moon ordered his senior secretary for civil affairs and chief of the national security office to conduct a thorough investigation over how the four additional launchers were brought in.”  (…….)

“Moon asked his aides to investigate why the four additional launchers were brought in, who made the decision, why it was not made public and why the new administration was not told about it,” Yoon said. “He also ordered that the investigation must look into the suspicion that the four launchers were kept secret in order to avoid an environmental impact assessment.”  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

If an environmental assessment was done for two launchers, what difference would four more make?  They have to tear up a few more putting greens to put them in?  It is not like an old growth rain forest needs to be cut down to put the launchers in.

You can read more at the link, but I would not be surprised if this is a political show to demonstrate to Moon’s supporters that the new administration is going to get tough on the Defense Ministry in regards to the THAAD deployment without actually changing the decision.

I guess we will see what happens.

President Moon Says He Will Pay for His Own Groceries

President Moon is very skilled politician because this announcement will go over very well with the Korean public:

President Moon Jae-in presides over a senior secretariat meeting in the Blue House on Thursday. It was the first meeting of its kind since President Moon was sworn in on May 10. [YONHAP]

President Moon Jae-in has decided he will not use the Blue House budget to pay for his private expenses, including groceries for his wife and himself and even food for his pets.

“From now on, meals that are not parts of official meetings will be paid from the president’s own money,” said Lee Joung-do, general affairs secretary of the Blue House. “We will stop using the state budget to pay for meals and personal purchases of the presidential family. It is the president’s strong will to clearly distinguish what should be paid with tax money and what should not.”

Until now, money from the special expense account of the Blue House was used to pay the living expense of the president and his family. Lee said Moon’s decision will save a considerable amount.

Special expenses accounts exist for almost all government ministries for activities that require confidentiality. Because no receipts are required, the accounts are often used for non-official purposes.

Although the Blue House did not make a comparison, the move appeared to be the latest in a series of actions taken by Moon to differentiate himself from predecessor Park Geun-hye.

A minor part of the presidential abuse of power and corruption scandal that led to Park’s impeachment and removal involved a personal health trainer she hired as a presidential secretary. Park used the special expenses account to pay for her clothes and beauty treatments. She saved most of her annual salary of 210 million won ($187,835).

According to Lee, 16.2 billion won was allocated to the special expense account of the Blue House this year. As of now, 12.7 billion won remains, and Moon wants to save 5.3 billion won to use for job creation for the young and programs for needy people.  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

ROK Foreign Minister Nominee Asks Daughter To Give Up US Citizenship

This seems like a lot to ask of her daughter that grew up in the United States and has been a US citizen for over a decade:

Kang Kyung-wha

Foreign Minister nominee Kang Kyung-wha said Friday she expects her first daughter will give up her U.S. citizenship and switch to Korean soon.

“There will be a family meeting to discuss this matter,” Kang told reporters. “I think my daughter will decide to give up American nationality. What’s important is how she feels about it.”

Kang’s daughter, who was born and grew up in the U.S., chose to become American in 2006 when she was 22.

Her daughter’s nationality has emerged as a controversial point ahead of her confirmation hearing. Cheong Wa Dae earlier said it heard from Kang before she was nominated as the country’s first female foreign minister that her daughter may discard her U.S. nationality.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in Was Former Commando Who Was Part of Operation Paul Bunyan

New ROK President Moon Jae-in was once a ROK Special Forces commando who served during the 1976 Operation Paul Bunyan.  Moon’s involvement with this operation reminded me of this story of the crazy ROK commandos who accompanied the US soldiers who chopped down the tree:

Moon was a commando in the Korean Army in 1975, a year after a court gave him 10 months’ probation for leading an anti-government demonstration in 1972. [Korea Times]

The dumptruck with the engineers pulls up next to the tree, so they can stand on it instead of having to use a ladder. The ROK’s with us, who are “supposed to” be limited as we are, with just .45’s and axe handles, begin throwing sandbags out of their deuces, Under the sandbags they have M-16’s, M-60’s, and a few M-79’s.

Several f them head over to Exum’s deuce and stand around watching the KPA guards across the bridge. I’m on the detachment that’s facing north, and I can see the 4 guards over there frantically running about and trying to get a hold of a superior on the phone. I look over at KP#3, a North Korean checkpoint just outside of the JSA and situated up on a hill, and I can see the guards up there run outside with a machinegun and set it up covering us. About two minutes later, a bunch of the KPA guard trucks and several buses pull up across the bridge from us. It seems like they sit there forever, several minutes at least. A few of the ROK marines with us unbutton their shirts, showing that they have claymore mines strapped to their chests and they have the clacker (firing mechanism) in their hands. They start yelling and waving at the KPA to come on over. One of the ROK’s is laying on his side, on the ground, supporting his head his his hand, looking all casual and care free. Once in a while he lifts his head a bit and hits the rear tire of Exum’s deuce with the back of his fist, shaking the entire truck bed. Anybody who’s ever been on a deuce knows that’s not easy.

Unfortunately President Moon was not one of the crazy commandos with claymores strapped to their chest.  He was in a back up role to respond to assist the crazy commandos if trouble was to occur.  Regardless it must have been interesting for Moon to be part of such a major moment in South Korea’s modern history.