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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Aug. 25)

Editorials from Korean dailies 07:40 August 25, 2022

Appoint special inspector
Swift action is key to establishing discipline

The ruling and opposition parties are in a tug of war over the appointment of a special inspector. The presidential office said Monday that it is waiting for the parties to recommend candidates, reaffirming its position that President Yoon Suk-yeol will appoint someone once the National Assembly makes its recommendations.

However, Woo Sang-ho, interim leader of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), urged the presidential office to first send an official document requesting the recommendation of three candidates for the position of special inspector. Joo Ho-young, interim chief of the ruling People Power Party (PPP), blasted the DPK for failing to appoint the inspector during the five-year tenure of former President Moon Jae-in and asked the opposition party to nominate directors for the North Korean Human Rights Foundation simultaneously.

While all three parties concerned stress the need for the swift appointment of the inspector, the appointment procedure has not yet even started. They seem to be preoccupied with shifting the responsibility for the vacancy only for partisan interests.

The special inspector is a position created in 2014 during the former Park Geun-hye administration to investigate corruption allegations involving the president's spouse, close relatives and senior presidential secretaries. But no one has been appointed to the position since Lee Seok-su quit in September 2016.

The PPP should begin talks with the opposition to select candidates for the inspector at once, considering the controversy over personnel appointments at the presidential office and corruption allegations involving first lady Kim Keon-hee. President Yoon ought to recall expert advice that the earliest appointment of a special inspector is the key to establishing discipline and stamping out unnecessary suspicions.

The DPK, for its part, must be ashamed that no special inspector was named during the Moon Jae-in administration. The North Korean Human Rights Foundation is in a state of drift now as the liberal party has declined to recommend five directors for the foundation since the relevant law was enacted in 2016. It amounts to a dereliction of duty by the party.
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