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(EDITORIAL from Korea JoongAng Daily on Aug. 4)

Editorials from Korean dailies 07:16 August 04, 2022

Appoint a special inspector

Shocking suspicion has arisen over a shaman who allegedly intervenes in personnel or tax affairs for others based on his personal connections with President Yoon Suk-yeol and his wife. After the rumor went viral, the presidential office urged caution. The shaman triggered controversy over a suspicious role he played as a Yoon campaign staffer in the March 9 presidential election. After controversy arose, a support group led by the shaman was disbanded. But he has emerged as a problem once again. If proven true, those suspicions must be cleared.

Another controversy involves the suspicious joining of an interior design company with connections with first lady Kim Keon-hee in the construction of the official residence of the president. The company had designed the exhibition hall of Covana Contents -- an art exhibit planning firm founded and run by the first lady until Yoon's election as president. In an alarming development, people with private connections with the first couple are provoking one controversy after another.

The presidential office plans to find the truth through the office of public discipline. The name of a high-level government official is being floated over his potential help in blocking a tax investigation for a private company at the shaman's request. But it is not known what probe the presidential office started. About the suspicious construction of the official residence of Yoon, the presidential office explained that the Presidential Security Service methodically looked into the interior design company for security reasons. But suspicions liner.

When doubts about a president, his relatives and aides are proven true, that leads to a serious crisis, hurting the administration critically. Such cases are abundant in our presidential history. Former president Park Geun-hye was impeached after allowing a confidante to intervene in national affairs. Her predecessors Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung had to pay dear prices for their sons' corruption, while Lee Myung-bak and Roh Moo-hyun did the same for their brothers' shady dealings. The Yoon administration must root out such shameful aberrations.

Yoon must appoint a special inspector in charge of watching his wife and close relatives for possible corruption. The inspector can be appointed by the president after a confirmation hearing. After the first special inspector resigned during the Park administration, the post has been empty throughout the Moon administration. Since the office of the senior secretary on civil affairs was shut down by Yoon, his presidential office is weak in looking into people surrounding the president. We hope the presidential office starts the procedure for appointing a special inspector.
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