(LEAD) Transition team refuses justice ministry briefing amid rift over Yoon's pledges
(ATTN: UPDATES with Yoon's remarks in last 4 paras; ADDS photo)
By Lee Haye-ah
SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) -- The transition team of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol refused to hear a policy briefing from the justice ministry Thursday after Justice Minister Park Beom-kye objected to Yoon's campaign promises for judicial reform.
The transition team's subcommittee for political, judicial and administrative affairs said it informed the ministry early Thursday, hours before the briefing was scheduled to take place, the session had been postponed.
The decision came after Park told reporters Wednesday he is opposed to Yoon's plans to abolish the justice minister's authority to direct investigations, empower the prosecution to draw up its own budget and expand the scope of investigations led by the prosecution.
"It is rude and incomprehensible that a minister who will step down some 40 days from now with the change of government directly opposed the campaign pledges of the president-elect chosen by the people one day before his ministry's policy briefing," Rep. Lee Yong-ho of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP), the subcommittee chief, said during a press briefing.
"At this, we, the members of the transition committee, cannot hide our anger," he said.
Lee went on to say members of the executive branch have a duty to work to fulfill the president-elect's pledges and Yoon's promises are aimed at restoring the people's trust in the prosecution, and strengthening its independence and political neutrality.
PPP Rep. Yoo Sang-bum later told reporters the decision to postpone the briefing was made entirely by the subcommittee, not by Yoon.
Yoo, a member of the subcommittee, said it plans to reschedule the session for early next week.
The president-elect served as prosecutor-general under the Moon Jae-in administration.
His repeated clashes with the administration over its prosecutorial reform measures were what prompted him to step down from the post last year and enter politics as the favored opposition presidential contender.
Yoon was asked by reporters to comment on Park's remarks as he arrived for work at his office.
"This government's prosecution reform was aimed at defending the prosecution's neutrality, but after doing that for five years, is it now admitting that it failed?" he said.
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