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2017-08-03 16:48
President Moon Jae-in talks with visiting Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, left, at a naval base in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang Province, Wednesday, during his summer vacation. / Courtesy of Cheong Wa Dae


Moon invites criticism over vacation promise


By Kim Rahn 

 

President Moon Jae-in has drawn attention over his summer vacation this week because he promised to take all of his paid leave — 21 days this year — to encourage people to use their leave fully for work-life balance.

Cheong Wa Dae officials said the President would do nothing but rest, go for walks with his wife and relax for a week, which gained a positive public response.

But what he is doing during the vacation seems quite different from what people imagined.

The resting plan probably went awry from the beginning due to North Korea’s missile launch late Friday night, hours before Moon’s vacation was initially set to begin.

To take necessary countermeasures, he began the holiday Sunday. But this still drew a backlash from opposition parties, which claimed the President was insensitive to security concerns and was irresponsible, saying he should have delayed his vacation amid “this serious situation.”

Their criticism became stronger after Cheong Wa Dae said Monday Moon would have a phone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump about the North Korea issue after he returns from the vacation. Earlier that day, Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe already had a phone discussion on the same issue.

The delay was contrary to Cheong Wa Dae officials’ earlier explanation that Moon would be able to deal with emerging security issues during the holiday because he would stay at a presidential retreat at a naval base in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang Province.

Regarding the row, a Cheong Wa Dae official said the two state leaders do not call each other at any time but only when the time and the topics are set.

Some speculate the decision to delay the phone call may reflect the President’s strong will to keep his promise for vacation use to set an example of work-life balance. But other schedules during his vacation do not explain such speculation.

On the first day of the holiday, Moon visited the PyeongChang Winter Olympics facilities in Gangwon Province, an apparent move to promote the Olympic games scheduled for February.

He also met Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, who was visiting here for a ceremony, at the Jinhae retreat Wednesday.

As a result, the President is not properly resting but only getting criticism. If he was really determined to rest, he should not have had any work-related schedule during the vacation, such as the PyeongChang visit and the meeting with a foreign guest.

After all, Moon’s holiday only reiterated a situation where workers cannot focus on resting during their vacations.

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