Yoon refutes criticism by main opposition party over probes into officials of former gov’t

June 17, 2022

President Yoon Suk-yeol on Friday refuted criticism from the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) that investigations into officials of the previous administration are politically motivated.

“It is not desirable to politically debate about the normal justice system,” Yoon said when asked to comment on the DP’s contention with probes into officials of the former Moon Jae-in administration and Rep. Lee Jae-myung, who was defeated by Yoon in March’s presidential election.

Yoon said the Moon administration also launched probes into allegations of wrongdoings by previous governments.

“Criminal investigations are about investigating past events, and we cannot investigate future events,” Yoon told reporters as he arrived for work.

President Yoon Suk-yeol answers reporters' questions while reporting for work at his office in Seoul on June 17, 2022. (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk-yeol answers reporters’ questions while reporting for work at his office in Seoul on June 17, 2022. (Yonhap)

Earlier this week, a Seoul court denied an arrest warrant for former Industry Minister Paik Un-gyu over allegations that while in office he forced the heads of energy-related state firms to step down.

Paik, the former Moon administration’s first minister of trade, industry and energy, was charged with forcing the resignation of the heads of 13 state-run energy companies.

On Thursday, the Coast Guard apologized for having previously presumed a South Korean fisheries official killed by North Korea’s military near the western sea border in 2020 was attempting to voluntarily defect to the North.

Reversing its own previous assumption of the fisheries official’s possible intention to defect to North Korea, the Coast Guard said it has not found any circumstances suggesting he was attempting to defect.

With regard to criticism that the new government overturned its predecessor’s assessment about the official’s death, Yoon drew a line that the issue was not related to politics.

The bereaved family of the official has called for the government to disclose confidential information about the death.

In response, the presidential National Security Office suspended a judicial procedure pursued by the Moon government to block the disclosure of confidential information on the official’s death, Yoon said.