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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Nov. 11)

All News 07:04 November 11, 2022

Six months in power

President Yoon Suk-yeol on Thursday marked the sixth month since he was sworn as the head of state. Yet, Yoon cannot avoid criticism for having failed to meet the people's expectations and abide by his pledge to carry out innovation and bring changes based on his future vision. He should have offered a blueprint and laid the groundwork for state administration during the crucial period, but to no particular avail.

Yoon is taking flak for failing to take appropriate measures on diverse grave issues such as the recent Itaewon tragedy that claimed 156 lives. Against this backdrop, his approval rating stood at only 29 percent, according to a survey conducted by Gallup Korea on Nov. 4, a sharp drop from 52 percent around the time when he took office.

Yoon was elected with the motto of "recovering fairness and common sense." Many expected he would fulfill his promise despite his possible weakness as a political novice. Such expectations, however, evaporated, as he triggered controversy by pushing to relocate the presidential office and appointing his prosecutor-turned associates to major government posts.

The disputes involving his wife Kim Keon-hee and his engagement in the in-house conflicts within the ruling People Power Party further deepened public antipathy toward him. Yoon also invited criticism for his actions during his overseas trips, including a slip of tongue shortly after a brief meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden.

Worse still, the people seem to have been increasingly disenchanted with Yoon for his government's inability to tackle diverse pending issues. For starters, it has failed to provide concrete visions and policies to cope with the unprecedented global economic crisis and serious security crisis, prompted by North Korea's repeated military provocations.

During a press conference marking the 100th day of his inauguration, Yoon vowed to exercise "utmost efforts" not to repeat the bungled policies seen in the initial stage of his term. He visited many disaster sites and presided over 10 emergency meetings with economy-related ministers to find solutions to the worsening livelihood of the people. But the administration has yet to offer specific policies.

The situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula has been turning ever precarious. The people are struggling from the deteriorating economic situation with few signs of improvement for the time being. Yoon needs to come with strategies to cope with the economic hardship facing the people, among others.

Now is the time for Yoon to listen attentively to the people's voices. Based on strict self-remorse, Yoon needs to conduct a sweeping innovation of the state affairs. He should embrace his political opponents including lawmakers of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK). The cooperation of the DPK, in particular, is essential for Yoon to ensure his smooth sailing during his remaining term, as the DPK holds 169 of the 299-seat National Assembly. It is time for Yoon to exercise his political caliber.

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