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Yoon's office to sue opposition lawmaker over alleged false claim against first lady

Politics 14:28 November 22, 2022

SEOUL, Nov. 22 (Yonhap) -- The office of President Yoon Suk-yeol said Tuesday it will sue an opposition lawmaker on charges of spreading false claims that first lady Kim Keon-hee staged her photos with a sick Cambodian child.

Rep. Jang Kyung-tae of the main opposition Democratic Party will be accused of making false claims that the photos were taken with at least two or three pieces of studio lighting and posting such "fake news" on his social media, the office said.

The complaint will be filed with the police later in the day, it said, the first time it has filed a complaint against anyone since the start of the administration.

"The presidential office has until now refrained from legal action while faithfully responding to allegations different from the truth," the office said, before listing three reasons it decided to take action.

The first is that Jang made the claims based on a dubious online post during a key party meeting despite clear evidence that no lighting was used, it said.

The second is that even after the presidential office responded to the allegation by stating there was no lighting, Jang continued to stand by his false claims by quoting foreign news reports that did not exist.

"Thirdly, we decided it was difficult to overlook, because more than anything, it squarely infringed on our diplomatic national interest, and caused direct damage to the people's rights and interest," it said.

The office demanded the lawmaker apologize and withdraw his comments, as they were a discourtesy to the governments of South Korea and Cambodia, and hurtful to the child's family.

Jang created a stir earlier by describing the first lady's visit with the Cambodian child, which took place while she was accompanying President Yoon Suk-yeol to Southeast Asia earlier this month, as "poverty porn."

Rep. Jang Kyung-tae of the main opposition Democratic Party speaks during a Supreme Council meeting at the National Assembly in Seoul on Nov. 16, 2022. (Yonhap)

Rep. Jang Kyung-tae of the main opposition Democratic Party speaks during a Supreme Council meeting at the National Assembly in Seoul on Nov. 16, 2022. (Yonhap)

First lady Kim Keon-hee holds Rotha, a 14-year-old Cambodian child with a congenital heart disease, during a visit to his home in Phnom Penh on Nov. 12, 2022, in this file photo provided by the presidential office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

First lady Kim Keon-hee holds Rotha, a 14-year-old Cambodian child with a congenital heart disease, during a visit to his home in Phnom Penh on Nov. 12, 2022, in this file photo provided by the presidential office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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