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Is President Moon really returning to a right-wing posture?

기사승인 2019.10.16  15:57:32

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- Many people say it is a good question

Publisher Lee Kyung-sik with Deputy Editor Ms. Kim Jin-sun

Recently, there are reports of Koreans, especially some well-to-do people, seeking ‘business emigration’ into the United States, Canada, Australia and other ‘western’ countries.

According to Korean-language media reports in Seoul, emigration brokers in Korea are having a heyday thanks to fast-increasing number of Koreans seeking emigration to the western countries—away from Korea.

President Moon Jae-in(left), Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India(right) and The vice chairman Lee Jae-yong of the Samsung Business Group attended the ceremony to open the world’s largest mobile factory in India on July 8, 2018.

Obviously, they are worried that the Moon government continues to go ‘leftward’ and pro-North Korean and that one day they might face a tragic situation where the ‘capitalists’ will suffer under an entirely different political system in Korea.

Some even fear a situation where Chairman Kim Jong-Un of North Korea might succeed in bringing the entire Korean peninsula with his nuclear weapons and missiles that the South does not have and which even the United States seems to fear.

This is a sign appearing amidst rumors that the government of President Moon, especially the leftist-oriented policymakers in the ruling circles, are going more and more ‘pro-proletarian’ and pro-North Korean.

President Moon Jae-in and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India (fourth and fifth from left, respectively) perform a tape-cutting ceremony to open the world’s largest mobile factory in India with The vice chairman Lee Jae-yong of the Samsung Business Group (far left) and other dignitaries of Korea and India.

Many people in Korea might have been a little bit surprised when President Moon Jae-in visited a Samsung Display plant in Asan in Chungcheongnam-do province on Oct. 3, 2019.

In another instance of a reportedly surprise move, Moon publicly thanked Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong of the Samsung Business Group, Korea’s top business conglomerate, during a celebrating meeting of Samsung Display’s investment of US$10.9 billion at its plant in Chungcheongnam-do on that day.
In a rare display of goodwill for top jaebeol business groups in Korea, Moon even said, “I thank Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong of Samsung Group, CEO Lee Dong-hoon of the Samsung Display, Governor Yang Seung-jo of the Chungcheongnam-do Province and the leaders of all the business organizations, universities and research institutes involved in providing the Korean people with the good news.”

On that day, President Moon visited a plant of Samsung Display in Asan, Chungcheongnam-do, which, in fact, is the third time Moon has visited Samsung plants since he took office in 2017.

It is true that Moon has met with Vice Chairman Lee before, about nine times according to media reports, but this was the first time Moon has ever publicly expressed warm gratitude to the Samsung leader.

Moon is largely compared to a political leader who tries to avoid being seeing with jaebeol leaders in the fact that progressives and progressively minded political leaders in Korea try to shun any circumstances where they might be seen in a picture with a jaebeol leader. And Moon is no exception. Or rather, he might be considered a leader shunning business tycoons.

In a sharp contrast with such an attitude he has taken so far, Moon went a step further and even was quoted by Korean media as saying:
“I always feel grateful to Samsung as the company has led the Korean economy as a leader in the world in consumer electronics, semiconductors, mobile phones, ]displays, and in many other areas.”

Moon reportedly even said, “Today’s signing of new investment will be the starting point of securing uncontested display competitiveness in the world.”

Moon then said: “The future of Korea’s electronics industry is promising with your announcement of new investments along with other Korean business leaders such as LG Display who invested 3 trillion won in organic light-emitting diodes last July.”

Moon, reportedly, is a progressive politician who is not overly chummy with the United States compared with his conservative predecessors such as Presidents Park Chung Hee, Chun Doo Hwan, Roh Tae-woo, Kim Young-sam, Kim Dae-jung, Lee Myung-bak, Park Geun-hye, and even progressively minded former President Roh Moo-hyun whom Moon had serverd as chief secretary.

Moon might be considered to be the most friendly Head of Government of the Republic of Korea toward North Korea, Chairman Kim Jong-Un, in particular. According to reports published by the Korean media, especially Korea’s front-runner newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, Moon tries to give things to North Korea even when the latter publicly shuns any such ‘support’ from South Korea.

During the government of former President Roh Moo-hyun (Feb. 25, 2003 to Feb. 24, 2008), the leftist-minded politicians in Korea used to say: “The Roh Government is making a left-turn while, on the contrary, blinking a right-turn sign!” Many of them suspected a possible ‘conglutination’ between Roh and Samsung.

The then Vice Chairman Lee Hak-soo of the Samsung Group was a one-year senior to Roh at the Busan Commercial High School and Roh used to call Lee, “Senior Hak-soo!”

There are even such reports that when Roh tried to map out government policies, especially those related with the national economy, he used the services of the top brains of the Samsung Economic Research Institute (SERI).

Reports indicate that throughout his five-year term Roh maintained close relationship of cooperation with Samsung.

As the first-term minister of information and telecommunication, Roh appointed a former president & CEO of Samsung Electronics.

Roh also tapped a former Samsung executive for a post at the National Security Agency where domestic intelligence and information were handled.

It is no secret that at the office of the closest lieutenants of President Roh, there invariably were reports under the table furnished by the Samsung Economic Research Institute (SERI).

Lawyer Kim Young-chul, who disclosed information concerning the so-called

Samsung X File, the government frequently used the policies proposed by

SERI.

According to a Chosun report, a ranking member of the Moon government privately told his close associates, “You know, what the Roh Moo-hyun government did wrong was his lopsided reliance on Samsung.”

As if to attest to the existence of overwhelming power and influence on the part of this man, Samsung thenceforth suffered for two and half years of ‘persecution’ including a total of 20 times of search, confiscation and seizure together with several hundred leading members of the business group called for interrogation and investigation. In other words, all sort of actions were taken to molest and tame Korea’s top business conglomerate.

For instance, when President Moon made his first visit to the United States since his inauguration, the government kept Samsung out in the cold and excluded its representatives from the list of Korean business leaders accompanying Moon. Too, at the Cheong Wa Dae meeting with Korea’s top business leaders, Samsung was not invited.

Why did they do this?

The answer was: “We don’t want to repeat the ‘wrongdoings’ of the Roh government!”

So, what did such ‘cold shoulder measures’ against Samsung bring to the Moon government? Fast-deteriorating unemployment and badly sagging economy!

This apparently changed the attitude of President Moon.

When Moon visited India a year after his inauguration, he attended the inauguration ceremony of a Samsung plant in India and met with Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong (just out of detention on parole) for the first time since Moon’s inauguration.

Since then, Moon has met with Vice Chairman Lee on a total of nine different occasions, which was one time more than former President Park Geun-hye who had met with Lee for eight times.

At the beginning of October, Moon visited the Samsung Display Plant where he called Samsung “Our Company” (or “Company of Korea”). Then he said, “I am really grateful to Mr. Lee, the vice chairman of Samsung, who has brought Korea good news.” According to reports, Moon was quoted as repeating “Thank you, Samsung” six times.

It was obvious that Moon was very grateful when Samsung made such a large investment when investments by the businesses were hard to come by these days.

The leftist-minded politicians in Korea started worrying about Moon’s possible blinking of a ‘right turn’ signal.

Chosun said, “The representative of the Justice Party started charging Moon that the government is turning to a pro-Jaebeol, anti-labor posture in order to extricate itself from the unfavorable aftermath of the Cho Kook (just appointed minister of justice) controversy.

Moon’s appointment of Cho has brought down Moon’s popularity rating from 47.3% in September to 41.4% in October.

Lee Kyung-sik edt@koreapost.com

<저작권자 © 코리아포스트 무단전재 및 재배포금지>
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