Recently, one of the close former associates of the progressive-oriented late former President Roh Moo-hyun was chosen to lead the faction-ridden, popularity-plummeting conservative political camp in Korea, namely the Liberty Korea Party (LKP).
The late former President Roh, whom President Moon Jae-in served as Chief Secretary, is largely considered a progressive politician in Korea. However, Roh is told apart from the progressive-oriented entourage now surrounding Moon.
Firstly, Roh is known to have heard the voices from both sides, one from the progressive ones the other from the conservatively oriented progressives.
While Roh was in power as President of the Republic of Korea from Feb. 25, 2003 to March 12, 2008, Roh is known to have listened to these two different groups of the members of the Presidential Mansion of Cheong Wa Dae.
Incumbent Chairman Kim Byung-joon of the conservative KLP is known in the past to have led the ‘right-wing secretaries’ of President Roh, on whose advice, President Roh carried out a number of policies, including the conclusion of the ROK-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, construction of the Gangjeong Naval Base on Jeju Island, and dispatching of the ROK troops to Iraq overriding the opposition of the leftist-oriented other group of the Presidential aides. Roh is also known to have thought of settling the maximum wages in favor of the management, on which, however, Roh later postponed making a final decision.
Roh is known to have given his first priority to the promotion of the common interests of the country rather than in favor of a group of people (radicals).
Criticizing this decision of Roh, the left-wingers in the Roh camp at the time are reported to have complained, “The car made a right turn blinking a left-turn light.”
At this juncture, there are reports that Moon is following the suit of Roh ‘making a right turn’ in the implementation of a number policies of the government.
For instance, Moon recently told the economy-related ministries of the government to take a better care of the businesses and actually personally demonstrated his will by meeting with Chairman Lee Jae-yong of the Samsung Business Group during his recent tour of India. It was ‘unthinkable’ in view of the fact that the Prosecution tried to question him at the time on charges of involvement in suspected illegal dealings.
Minister of Trade, Industry & Energy Paik Un-gyu who has been viewed as an opponent to nuclear power generation in Korea is known to have recently declared, “My ministry will work for the interest of the businesses.”
Many people in Korea, especially the business people say, “If the businesses die, so will the workers.”
Many people in Korea, particularly the conservatively-oriented moderates, say that President Moon should try to use his ‘right-wing lieutenants’ if he wants to succeed in the ‘reform-oriented economic growth’ and eventually win the verdict of the people, “Well, Moon has done well!”