Moon calls on Park to accept court ruling

By Kim Hyo-jin
Moon Jae-in, former leader of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea

Moon Jae-in, former leader of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), called on former President Park Geun-hye, Sunday, to accept the Constitutional Court’s ruling upholding her impeachment.

“I believe it is Park’s moral duty to express that she accepts the court’s decision as soon as possible,” he said during a press conference in Seoul.

In his statement issued two days after the court upheld the parliamentary impeachment of Park, the leading presidential contender said Park’s acceptance would be the best way to bring national unity and help the nation move forward from conflicts and division caused by the impeachment process.

Hours after his call, however, Park issued a message that indicated she did not accept the court decision. Her message came while many of her disappointed supporters committed acts of violence during a rally. So far, three protesters have died.

Park has not left the presidential office yet using the excuse of renovation being done on her old house, further drawing criticism from the public.

“I heard her departure is being delayed for two to three days as her residence has not been made ready yet,” Moon said, adding he can understand this delay for such a reason.

However, he raised concerns about the possibility of Park destroying state documents and other Cheong Wa Dae material related to the corruption scandal _ Park allegedly let her confidant Choi Soon-sil meddle in state affairs by giving her confidential documents regarding personnel management and Cabinet meetings.

“I’d like to point out that she must not destroy state documents or take any of them with her when she moves out,” Moon said, reflecting public concern that papers containing evidence to prove Park’s involvement in criminal activities could be destroyed by her as she now faces investigation by the prosecution as a private citizen.

Moon remained firm on the need to conduct an investigation into her part in the corruption scandal. “Some say the investigation should be postponed until the presidential election is concluded but I don’t think there’s a single reason to do that since she is not a presidential candidate,” he said.

During the press conference, Moon renewed his call that the deployment of a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery should be handed over to the next government.

“I’m not making a judgment on it yet,” Moon said. “The new government can make a rational decision by seeking public consensus, parliamentary approval and diplomatic consultations with the U.S., China and Russia.”

He agreed with the party’s position that the Constitutional Court can deal with the THAAD deployment issue if the government keeps ignoring the process to get parliamentary approval.

DPK Chairwoman Choo Mi-ae said earlier that the party is considering asking the court to decide whether the government infringed on the National Assembly’s authority by pushing ahead with the deployment.

“It’s not like we are introducing a weapon on an existing U.S. army base. It’s about offering our territory, which is expected to cost us as much as 100 billion won. So it should be under parliamentary control,” she said.

Moon was critical of Beijing for unleashing economic retaliation against South Korean businesses to protest the THAAD battery.

“We fully understand China’s concerns but it is the matter of our security and sovereignty. It is not right for China to put pressure on us beyond expressing its opposition,” he said.

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