Liberty Korea Party seethes over Moon’s rejection of May 18 committee nominees

By Choi He-suk
  • Published : Feb 12, 2019 - 15:31
  • Updated : Feb 12, 2019 - 15:31

President Moon Jae-in’s decision to reject two nominees for a fact-finding commission to uncover the truth about the May 18 Democratization Movement of 1980 is fueling yet another clash with the main opposition Liberty Korea Party. 

Rep. Na Kyung-won, floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, speaks during an event held in Washington on Monday. Yonhap

On Monday, Moon asked the main opposition to recommend two new candidates for the committee in place of Kwon Tae-oh and Lee Dong-wook.

Kwon is a former chief of the Combined Forces Command’s special operations team, and Lee is a former reporter for the Monthly Chosun magazine.

The committee is to comprise nine members: one recommended by the National Assembly speaker, four by the Democratic Party, three by the Liberty Korea Party and one by the Baruenmirae Party.

While Kwon’s military background was a source of controversy, as were Lee’s reports on the movement -- in which he claimed it had been incited by a small group of people and that related news reports were false -- Cheong Wa Dae said the two had failed to meet the requirements set out in the Special Act on the May 18 Democratization Movement, Etc.

The act states that committee members need to have practiced law for a minimum of five years or worked for at least five years as academics in fields related to history, military, national security, physics, ballistics or other relevant disciplines.

The act also allows those with five or more years of professional experience in forensic sciences, history research or human rights to serve on the committee.

The main opposition responded by accusing Moon of making a politically motivated decision.

“Cheong Wa Dae’s decision can only be seen as a political one. We think that (Kwon and Lee) fully meet the qualifications,” Liberty Korea Party Floor Leader Na Kyung-won said. Na is currently in Washington along with leaders of the ruling Democratic Party and other opposition parties.

Rep. Cheong Yang-seog, the conservative opposition’s deputy floor leader, took a stronger stance, accusing Moon of belittling the National Assembly and the party and calling the decision a “challenge against parliamentary democracy.”

By Choi He-suk (