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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Sept. 7)

All News 06:44 September 07, 2022

Opposition going too far
DPK hit for political offensive to save chairman

The main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) seems to have gone too far in attempting to block the prosecution from investigating allegations that its new Chairman Lee Jae-myung spread false information during the presidential campaign. On Monday, the DPK filed a complaint with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office against President Yoon Suk-yeol for allegedly violating the election law. It also decided to push for an independent counsel probe into allegations that first lady Kim Keon-hee falsified her academic credentials and engaged in a stock price manipulation scheme.

Lee, the DPK's former presidential candidate, refused to comply with a prosecution summons for questioning Tuesday. His refusal came after his party asked for him not to honor the summons. Lee and the DPK have already denounced the investigation as a "political vendetta" and "suppression of the opposition party." However, the denunciation certainly lacks credibility. It seems to be more of a political gambit merely aimed at protecting Lee from possible criminal charges. It is shameful for the DPK and its leader to scoff at the rightful law enforcement process.

The DPK cannot avoid criticism for launching a political offensive against the Yoon administration in a bid to save Lee. If he is confident that he did nothing wrong in the run-up to the March 9 presidential election, Lee should come in for questioning at the prosecutors' office. And he should clear up allegations that he made false statements regarding corruption-tainted land development projects pushed for when he was mayor of Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province.

It is wrong for the DPK to lodge a complaint against President Yoon as part of a counterattack against the ruling camp. It is absurd to link the Lee case to allegations surrounding Yoon and his wife. It would be better for Lee to appear for questioning, and then for the DPK to raise allegations against the presidential couple based on facts and evidence. It is cowardly of the DPK to accuse the Yoon government of trying to break up the liberal opposition party.

Of course, this is not to say that the presidential couple is free from all the allegations which have haunted Yoon since he joined the presidential race last year. If necessary, law enforcement agencies should shed light on such allegations. In this regard, Yoon needs to give a clear explanation about the DPK's claim that he stated false information regarding his wife's alleged manipulation of the stock prices of Deutsch Motors, a BMW car dealer in Korea. The first lady also needs to clear up the allegations of her involvement in the manipulation scheme as well as suspicions that she falsified her academic credentials to get a teaching job at a university.

Most people no longer want to see the opposition and the ruling camp continue to engage in the political blame game. They want to see any violators subject to due punishment whoever they are. No politicians should dare to undermine the rule of law ― which is the very foundation of democracy.

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