Park’s transition team regrets opposition criticism
Published : 2013-01-06 19:10
Updated : 2013-01-06 19:10
President-elect Park Geun-hye’s transition team rejected opposition criticism Saturday that she has picked rightist scholars with biased views and others unfit for the committee, saying that the opposition party should mind its own business first.
Park finalized the make-up of the transition team on Friday with the selections of about two dozen top members, laying the groundwork for launching her five-year term as South Korea’s first female president. She will be inaugurated on Feb. 25.
The main opposition Democratic United Party criticized the line-up for including right-wing scholars, such as Seoul National University professor Park Hyo-chong accused by critics of beautifying the 1961 military coup, led by Park’s father and former President Park Chung-hee.
The opposition also said the team includes too many scholars and researchers, which it said could cause problems with the committee’s role as a bridge between the outgoing and incoming governments. The party also claimed that Park’s selections were made in too secretive a manner without sufficient vetting.
On Satruday, the transition team flatly rejected the criticism.
“It is deeply regrettable that some opposes the formation of the transition team for opposition’s sake,” Yoon Chang-jung, chief spokesman for the transition team, told reporters, accusing the opposition party of “distorting” Park’s sincerity in her efforts to achieve national unity.
“It is an undeniable and objective fact that President-elect Park Geun-hye was very meticulous in naming personnel for the transition team with a basic philosophy for national unity,” he said. “I understand the opposition party has a mountain of internal work to do. I hope they will understand what should be done first.”
The blunt criticism, made in an unexpected press conference, appears to underscore a growing sense in the team that it should keep the opposition’s repeated fault-finding under control or end up losing the political initiative even before the new government is launched.
When Park named Yoon as senior spokesman of the transition team last month, the opposition also strongly criticized the selection, claiming that the former journalist-turned-political columnist is unfit for the job as his past columns show that he is divisive, standoffish and biased.
The opposition DUP immediately struck back at Yoon’s criticism.
“This is a provocation against the opposition party,” DUP spokesman Park Yong-jin said, contending that the party is simply playing the role of watchdog, which is what the opposition is supposed to do.
“The DUP has already said it will render cooperation for President-elect Park and the new government,” he said. “Pointing out problems and criticizing what is wrong is the role of an opposition party. We will continue to undertake this role as well.”
Rep. Youn Kwan-suk, the DUP’s floor spokesman, also demanded in a separate briefing that Park should immediately sack Yoon as senior spokesman of the transition committee, saying his dismissal is one of the first things to help the team get back on the right track. (Yonhap News)