Moon rebukes opposition for “fanning divisions” with nuclear power plant controversy

Posted on : 2021-02-02 17:04 KST Modified on : 2021-02-02 17:04 KST
President Moon Jae-in speaks at a Blue House meeting of senior secretaries and aides on the afternoon of Feb. 1. (Yonhap News)
President Moon Jae-in speaks at a Blue House meeting of senior secretaries and aides on the afternoon of Feb. 1. (Yonhap News)

President Moon Jae-in shared a message on Feb. 1 criticizing the opposition’s “antiquated political legacy” with its allegations that the administration attempted to assist the construction of a nuclear power plant in North Korea.

Moon also called on People Power Party (PPP) interim leader Kim Chong-in and other opposition leaders to “refrain from setting politics back.”

In opening remarks at a meeting of senior secretaries and aides at the Blue House that afternoon, Moon said, “At a time when people are suffering enough with their livelihoods, I hope [politicians] will refrain from setting politics back by fanning divisions with this sort of antiquated political legacy that ought to be discarded.”

“Hopefully we will see a more cooperative kind of politics in which the parties compete over making better policies to resolve livelihood issues,” he urged.

His remarks came in response to allegations from the opposition that the files on a memory stick he provided to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during their inter-Korean summit on Apr. 27, 2018, included a proposal for the construction of a nuclear power plant. His reply sent a stern message regarding the opposition’s attempt to politically exploit the issue of his administration’s move away from nuclear power by framing it as part of the North Korean nuclear issue.

On Jan. 29, Kim Chong-in claimed that the Moon administration had “engaged in an act benefiting the enemy that stands to jeopardize the future of the administration with its attempts to shut down nuclear power plants in the Republic of Korea while secretly building nuclear power plants in North Korea.”

As a basis for his claim, he cited the prosecutors’ indictment concerning alleged doctoring of documents related to the economic feasibility of the No. 1 reactor at the Wolsong Nuclear Power Complex.

The claim sparked a flurry of replies from Blue House officials and from the ruling Democratic Party. Youn Kun-young, a Democratic Party lawmaker who previously headed the Blue House’s governance situation room, said the files shared with North Korea “did not make the slightest mention of nuclear power.”

Fellow lawmaker Yoon Young-chan, a former Blue House senior secretary for public communication, asked, “How could they ‘secretly’ agree to a nuclear power plant construction effort that costs 5 trillion won [US$4.5 billion] and takes over a decade to execute?”

Meeting with reporters on Feb. 1, a Blue House senior official shared the indignant mood among insiders.

“This kind of political attack crosses the line. It’s red-baiting,” the official said. According to the official, the attempt to take a MOTIE staffer’s document floating ideas for inter-Korean economic policy and portray it as a “top-secret attempt to build a nuclear power plant in North Korea” represents the kind of typical political offensive launched ahead of an election.

By Lee Wan, staff reporter

Please direct comments or questions to []

button that move to original korean article (클릭시 원문으로 이동하는 버튼)

Related stories

Most viewed articles