June 12. Banner reads: “We do not need a pro-Japanese Prime Minister. Moon Chang-geuk must leave.” (By Ryu Woo-jong
The statements made by Moon Chang-geuk, nominee for Prime Minister, delivered in a number of lectures given at churches, organizations, and schools leave us gaping in disbelief. The content is not merely pro-Japanese or pro-American. Again and again, his statements fail to resemble anything another Korean living in this land would dream of saying. It seems pointless to even ask whether Moon is qualified to be prime minister. We have arrived at the point where we should be wondering whether he is even qualified to be Korean.
Moon‘s values, and philosophical and historical understanding can be clearly deduced from his speeches. “Japan’s colonization of Korea was unavoidable,” Moon said, “because Koreans are lazy and lack a sense of independence.” Moon also contends that if Korea had gained independence on its own, it would have surely gone Communist, the Jeju Uprising was a Communist revolt, and Korea does not need an apology from Japan forcible mobilization of Korean women into sexual slavery. Thorough denigration of the Korean ethnic identity and a pro-Japanese view of history defending Japan‘s occupation of the peninsula coincide with the belief in the inevitability of the division of North and South Korea, informed by a radical anti-Communism. Add some wonky religious beliefs, and we have the recipe for the worst ideology imaginable.
After Moon’s remarks provoked a backlash, he tried to justify them by saying, “I was giving a sermon to Christians in the specific context of a church, so there could be some differences from the way non-churchgoers feel.” He added, “I regret the fact that there was room for misunderstanding.”
Given Moon‘s response we are left to wonder if he would say the complete opposite in other contexts? Would Moon say that Koreans are diligent and have a strong sense of independence?
Frankly speaking, Moon’s remarks are so transparent that they could not be misunderstood even if you tried. It is too late for Moon to try to brush the issue aside with the excuse that he was delivering a sermon.
There is a lot of expectations today on the Prime Minister of South Korea as a messenger facilitating communication between the President and the public. However, far from indicating that he could unite the people and enable communication, Moon‘s attitudes and ideas are not in touch with universal public sentiment. It makes one shudder to imagine Moon setting out to reform the nation with his vision of ethnic rehabilitation based on a colonial view of history.
If we also consider Moon’s religious habit of throwing around the phrase “the will of God” willy-nilly, the only conclusion is that he is unfit to be Prime Minister. Rather than assuming the post, it would be much better for Moon to devote himself to his personal faith.
Moon‘s numerous wonky remarks demonstrate that the Blue House’s appointee vetting process is still suffering from major malfunction. It is absurd for the Blue House to try to excuse itself by questioning whether the remarks had been made publicly or been reported in the media when the press managed to dig them up only one day after his nomination.
At any rate, further debate on the question of whether Moon is qualified for the Prime Minister is probably a waste of time. The quickest way for the Blue House to assuage the criticism is to take responsibility for its failure in vetting the nominee, and to immediately retract the nomination. Hopefully, Moon is also aware that the wisest thing he could do is to make this decision to withdraw himself.
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