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(EDITORIAL from Korea JoongAng Daily on Dec. 28)

Editorials from Korean dailies 06:58 December 28, 2020

Actions speak loudest

Many people hoped the ruling Democratic Party (DP) would reflect on its role after President Moon Jae-in apologized for all the chaos from Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae's relentless campaign to oust Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl. However, some DP lawmakers are doubling down and demanding the impeachment of the top prosecutor by the National Assembly, in what has become a stark defiance of a presidential apology. We are dumbfounded at the way the DP behaves.

After a Seoul administrative court dismissed a Choo-orchestrated disciplinary committee's decision to suspend Yoon from active duty for two months, Moon expressed his "consequential regret" as the boss who appointed Yoon. Moon's choice of the word "consequential" suggested he was not fully admitting his responsibility as president. Yet the public regarded it as an expression of his determination to prevent a national crisis from developing over the war between Choo and Yoon.

Then DP Chairman Lee Nak-yon attacked the court for raising concerns and talked about the "judiciary's domination of state affairs." His comment represents a denunciation of a judge's ruling to stop Yoon's two-month suspension. Even though Chairman Lee may have felt the need to make such strong remarks to get support from hard-line pro-Moon lawmakers for his presidential bid, he went too far. That's not all. After the Seoul Central District Court sentenced Prof. Chung Kyung-sim, the wife of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk, to four years in jail for corruption, DP legislators started proclaiming, "It is time to reform the judicial branch!" It is utterly disappointing that a ruling party attacks a court just because it did not like its ruling. Needless to say, that is an undemocratic attitude.

Some members of the DP are calling for impeachment of the prosecutor general. Rep. Kim Du-kwan claimed the only solution left is impeaching Yoon to help protect the president, an eerie reminder of what pro-Park Geun-hye lawmakers said during the impeachment of the former conservative president. First-term lawmaker Hwang Un-ha, a former top police officer, even mentioned the need for the DP to impeach Yoon and wait until the Constitutional Court delivers a ruling.

DP lawmakers don't care if the impeachment does not make sense. Even if a motion to impeach the top prosecutor is passed in the legislature, it will certainly be dismissed by the Constitutional Court.

A DP spokesperson has released a statement that the party is waiting for Yoon's apology and reflection. The Blue House keeps mum about DP lawmakers' over-the-top actions. That raises serious questions about the sincerity of the president's apology. He must prove it through actions, not words.

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