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(EDITORIAL from Korea Herald on June 4)

All News 07:06 June 04, 2021

Half-baked apology
Attack on Yoon tarnishes sincerity of apology; Cho, Moon should apologize

Song Young-gil, chairman of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, Wednesday apologized to young people for the "Cho Kuk scandal," which starkly illustrated the hypocrisy of leftists.

But sincerity was lacking in parts of his apology.

Song said that parents of high social standing help one another through personal connections and that in that vein they exchange internship opportunities for their children. He continued that while that mutual help does not go against the law, it frustrated many young people because it was beyond their reach.

The point of internship allegations involving Cho's daughter is not mutual help among a handful of socially successful parents. She received fake certificates of internship though she did not work properly as an intern. She even submitted a falsified award certificate while applying for admission to a medical school. The forgery of private papers is the crux of the matter. That's the reason why Cho's wife, Chung Kyung-shim, stood trial and was found guilty.

Song also said that the severity of investigations applied when prosecutors probed the Cho family would have to be applied equally to former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl.

In word, he apologized for the Cho scandal. Substantially, he attacked Yoon, who investigated Cho's alleged irregularities.

Song did this probably because Yoon has emerged as the strongest potential presidential candidate representing the opposition. If he is not favored in the race for the next presidency or if no election is scheduled in the near future, Song and the ruling party may not have felt the need to apologize.

The DP leader also called Cho's recently published memoir "a summary of objection to what news media wrote blindly to dictation from the prosecution." He effectively took Cho's side. The sincerity of his apology is questionable.

It looks awkward for Song to apologize instead of Cho. The cause of the problem remains in the former Justice Minister and President Moon Jae-in, who appointed him as minister. Though Cho triggered Song's apology directly, it is hard to find introspection or self-reflection in Cho.

He argues that Yoon targeted him with an intention to topple the Moon regime. He plays down allegations involving his family in connection with a private equity fund, his children's university admission and the Ungdong School Foundation. He pretends to be unfairly victimized.

However, reality is different from the memoir. Cho's wife was sentenced to four years in prison and a fine of 500 million won ($449,000). Judges found her guilty on 10 of 14 charges and put her in custody. She was convicted of all of the charges related to her children's admission irregularities.

A vice-principal of Sookmyung Girls' High School in Seoul was sentenced to three years in jail for leaking exam sheets to his twin daughters. His daughters were indicted despite being minors and sentenced to one year and a half in prison and three years of probation. On the other hand, Cho's daughter has not been indicted though she submitted forged documents. Compared with the twins, she received preferential treatment.

Cho faces 11 charges including bribery and document forgery.

If the DP is sincere in apologizing for the Cho scandal, it should take well-matched actions. Trials related to the scandal should be expedited.

Cho attempted to reform the prosecution under the pretext of re-establishing fairness and justice, but the reform has been going in the opposite direction. The Justice Ministry seeks to blockade prosecutors' investigations into allegations involving those in power. It plans to block probes without prior approval from the prosecutor general or the justice minister.

If the party or the ministry keeps destroying the rule of law and pushes misguided policies stubbornly without listening to critics, few would accept their apology. If they want to apologize properly at least for the scandal, it is normal for Cho himself or the president who appointed him as the Justice Minister to apologize.

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