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2017-10-29 17:21
President should show more focus on future, unity

More than 50,000 people gathered in central Seoul Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the start of mass candlelit protests that played a crucial role in driving former President Park Geun-hye out of office and paved the way for an early presidential election.

President Moon Jae-in was elected in May on a pledge to rebuild the nation after the corruption scandal involving the nation’s first female president and her friend Choi Soon-sil halted state affairs, and severely injured the national pride.

During the 23 rallies from Oct. 29, 2016 until April 29, those who poured into the streets, some of whom brought their young children, called not just for Park’s removal from office, but eradicating long-standing social evils, such as corruption.

Moon marked the first anniversary of the candlelit protests with a Facebook message and recounted their special significance in our society. “The candlelit protests suggested a new direction for the country,” Moon said. “They were an integrated force demanding a country where justice prevails.” 

Since taking office, Moon has put a strong focus on undoing wrongs of the previous governments. It is undeniable that some of them, such as intense reform of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) to separate it from domestic politics, are long overdue. After Moon took office, the NIS established a task force to look into political meddling under previous administrations, such as smear campaigns against opposition politicians and the suppression of anti-government figures in various sectors during the 2009-2013 presidency of Lee Myung-bak.

The President, however, has faced criticism that he is fixating on a political retaliation against previous conservative administrations. His alleged focus on past wrongdoings is making it harder to realize cooperative politics. The main opposition Liberty Korea Party has filed a complaint against family members of the late former President Roh Moo-hyun over suspected corruption.   

Moon vowed to become a president for all, but the nation remains divided over the jailing of Park, and his drive for social reform.  Those who supported Park also held a rally Saturday and demanded her release. The President still has a long way to go to unite the nation that was severely divided after the Park scandal.

From now on, Moon should pay utmost attention to the nation’s future, not the past. The people are more interested in what he will do to advance the country, keep the nation safe and improve their livelihoods, not what the former presidents did wrong.

 

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