Political leaders react to PGH’s statement

Here is a collection of how Korea’s political leaders reacted to PGH’s characterization of her father’s coup d’etat that it was an “unavoidable, best possible choice.”

  • Kim Moon-Soo (NFP governor of Gyeonggi-do, presidential candidate, in a radio interview):  “No matter what the circumstance, the president is supposed to be selected through the election by the people. No matter how ‘unavoidable’, taking over the government by rolling in with tanks over the Han River is called a coup d’etat. The success of industrial revolution afterward does not justify May 16.”
  • Lee Jae-Oh (NFP Assembly member, presidential candidate, via his Twitter):  “If May 16 was an unavoidable choice, what will we say to the descendants who claim that Japan-Korea annexation or the Korean War was an unavoidable choice? The act of destroying the constitutional order with swords and guns and usurping the power is none other than a coup d’etat. One cannot cover up or distort history. This is not a matter of difference in opinion or judgment; it is a matter of understanding history. Yushin dictatorship is not an issue that can be left alone for later; it was the era of the cruelest oppression of human rights.”
  • Moon Jae-In (DUP Assembly member, presidential candidate, via his Facebook):  “The May 16 coup d’etat and the yushin dictatorship, the destruction of the constitutional order and democracy, was transformed into a ‘historical choice.’ I share the outrage of the people to the idea that such events were the foundation of today’s Korea. I cannot help but ask whether she intends to lead our Republic to the future, or drag it back to the past. The foundation of today’s Korea is on the historical legitimacy and truth of the April 19 Democracy uprising, which rose against the dictatorship of the Liberty Party; May 18 Gwangju Democratization Movement and June 10 Democratization Movement, which placed numerous lives on the altar of history as a sacrifice to end the dark period of military rules, beginning from May 16 coup d’etat to December 12 coup d’etat. This is a historical common sense, shared by every Korean citizen as well as the citizens of the world.”
  • Sohn Hak-Gyu (DUP Assembly member, presidential candidate, in a press conference):  “This is why she truly deserves sympathy. She lives alone, still trapped in the yushin era. Personally, I feel sympathy to Chairwoman Park. She is a victim of yushin, just like myself. I ran away, was imprisoned and tortured; she was trapped in an island, unable to see the world. She simply does not have the DNA for democracy.”
  • Kim Du-Gwan (DUP governor of Gyeongsangnam-do, presidential candidate, in a press release):  “Her basic historical view did not change at all; she only changed the wording from her previous stance that May 16 was a ‘nation-saving determination.’ The advance of Korean society was a result of the people’s bloody sacrifice and effort, not a result of May 16. People are nervous over Chairwoman Park’s anti-democratic view, which still supports the coup d’etat that mobilized the military to topple the government.”
  • Lee Hae-Chan (DUP Assembly member, head of DUP, in a press conference):  “We have been using a relatively neutral term of ‘coup d’etat’, but a more accurate expression with a military mutiny. Who asked Park Chung-Hee to make a choice? Who asked a soldier to choose politics?”
  • Gang Gi-Gap (Head of UPP, in a party meeting):  “A dictator only does his best to maintain his dictatorial power. It may be the best possible choice for the individual dictator, but it is a tremendous misfortune for the people. If Chairwoman Park considers coup d’etat to be the ‘best possible choice,” she needs to answer whether she has any willingness to protect the constitutional democracy.”
  • Yu Bum Suk

    Disqus will let me comment here but I can’t open the comments to the
    “Unavoidable, Best Possible Choice” thread. Is that just a technical glitch?

  • cm

    It speaks volumes about TK’s post on this. He quotes all the leftist crack pot leaders.
    Was that a joke, TK?

  • http://www.askakorean.net/ The_Korean

    It speaks volumes that you think Kim Moon-Soo and Lee Jae-Oh are leftist crackpots.

  • brier

    I say Mr Lee Jae-oh has the best response. With an honorable mention to Mr Gang Gi-gap. She put her foot in her mouth. She needs to say the coup d’etat was wrong, but at the same time not to speak ill of her father. It wouldn’t be easy to seperate the two themes, but possilbe with the right public relations voodoo, but she didn’t.

  • cm

    They’re no leftists, but read your own descriptions of them “Presidential Candidate”. Why does that make me think their statements are politically motivated? Am I crazy?

  • keobuk2

    How is it that Gang Gi-gap is the only one of these that seems to have a well thought out response?

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    I think so.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    You want the comments that are probably the most politically relevant? How’s ’bout these:

    박 후보 캠프 쪽은 개의치 않겠다는 분위기다. 한 캠프 핵심 관계자는 “국민 70%는 5·16의 불가피성을 이해하고 있고, 그로 인해 보릿고개를 넘기고 발전의 기틀을 마련했다고 생각한다”며 “다만 20~30%만이 동의하지 않는데, 그건 설득해야 할 부분”이라고 말했다. 또다른 한 친박 참모는 “어차피 이 사안을 두고 박 후보를 찍을 사람이 안 찍고 안 찍을 사람이 찍는 상황은 벌어지지 않는다”고 말했다.


  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    BTW, I’m not saying I agree with Park’s comments. I just think her peoples’ political math might not be so wrong, with the caveat that they won’t get people sitting on the fence to vote for her, but they might energize the opposition base.

  • PGHfuturehubbabubba

    She may as well be on a LadyGate subway, PGH will not win. I wish she would but S. Korea could put up any stooge against her and she would never win. She is an unmarried woman and “lives alone.” It might sound good now for some to say “I’m going to vote for PGH” but when it comes down to it(Dec. 19th) she won’t receive the stamp. The gender based society is so ingrained not enough women will even vote for her.

  • Wedge

    Can we call it the “Saenuri Party” already? Uh, in a check of the English press nobody calls it NFP.

  • dlbarch

    On the electability of  PGH, I’d actually say it’s quite strong.

    I do not see Park’s recent press conference as a game changer, and actually think she’s handling the family legacy thing about as well as could be expected. (TK and I probably disagree about this.)

    Now, I haven’t checked any polls in the last week or so, but Park is very clearly channeling both JFK for her party and Margaret Thatcher for herself, and that is a very powerful combination.

    I remain doubtful that Park has the gravitas necessary to be a good president, but that is a different issue. She has the drive and, equally important, the party machinery in place to make a serious run for the presidency.

    At this point, I would still say she has a better than even chance of being Korea’s next president.


  • http://www.askakorean.net/ The_Korean

    Actually, I agree that she handled it as well as it could have been expected. It would be nice if PGH saw the light and correctly characterized May 16 as a bloody, illegitimate usurpation, but that’s just unrealistic.

    The sad part is that by this stance, she is pandering to the crowd that says democracy does not matter, freedom does not matter, as long as there is a piece of bread in their hands at all times. If she ends up winning, the message is loud and clear — democracy does not matter. That thing that so many Koreans, as well as so many people around the world, gave their lives for — that does not matter. Poor, dumb Koreans deserved dictatorship, because democracy was too good for them. That will be the message.

  • http://www.askakorean.net/ The_Korean

    Wall Street Journal calls it NFP: link.

  • Byeonguk Yook

    At the end of the day this is how Korean history played out. Park took over the country via coup. What people forget is while coup is illegal some politicians acceded to it in 1961. His human right violations are outrageous but at the same time he developed the country. So all I can say is that’s how things played out. It may have been good for some and sucky for others. You can’t really oversimplify it by just condeming Park’s legacy because his economic accomplishment goes along with it.  I wish PGH would have worded better. The fact that the country joined the industrialized ranks is mainly due to him. 

  • Byeonguk Yook

    If that were the case she would have no chance of winning. I don’t think there’s anybody in Korea who says screw everything else but $$$$$$. What gets missed by everybody is that once the coup happened in 1961 there were certain politicians who acceded to it. 

  • Yu Bum Suk

    No, the message will be that a majority of voters in a democractic Korea think that PCH wasn’t so bad that his daughter should be ruled out because she won’t condemn the way he came to power. And that’s a message that will really burn the left, both those who have legitimate greivances against PCH and those who simply hate / hated his style.

  • RolyPoly

    PGH fell for a cheap shot and she is lost ever since.   Reporters will keep shooting cheap shots at her like “What do think about Dictatorship?”, ” 5.16 Coup?”, “ChunDooHwan’s Coup”, “Yusin?”, “putting a tank in front of a newspaper company?”, etc.
    As long as the opponents hit PGH about her father and keep her there, she cannot win.   This is what I have been writing last two years.   She cannot overcome her father’s bad stories…    It will hit the fan when they start talking about Park’s women.  More than one hundred.

  • RolyPoly

    PGH is just another Lee HoiChang, the old loser who lost twice to Jolla Commies.    MBC, the Jolla Commie station, already had a show about PCH sleeping with young women.  It only hinted at it.   I think sometime soon MBC will have another one about PCH’s dirty deeds.    
    PGH cannot win.  She has done nothing significant.   She is running on PCH’s legacy and once people find out what PCH really have done  they would turn their backs on her.
    PCH was a good president.   But people now will never understand that he took young women to bed using his position.

  • RolyPoly

    Jolla Commies already have one or two women who will describe in excruciating details about what it was like to sleep with PCH.   They may even make up stories.   Some of these women are from Jolla province and they are siding with Jolla Commies.  They can come up with ugly and sexually-deviant stories.   After all, PCH was 30 years older than them – may have done weird stuff.

  • que369

    I’ve preferred PGH among conservatives and ACS for progressive side.  PGH could have appealed to voters with some remorse on her father’s political faults, while emphasizing his great contribution to economy when S. Korea was poorer than N. Korea.  Most of all, PCH had immensely inspired Korean citizens to overcome postwar poverty and unceasing communist threats.  PGH might not be an apt leader that could heal aftermath of political turmoil of modern Korea and move on to the 21C Korean society.  Anyway, if not PGH, we have ACS.

  • http://www.askakorean.net/ The_Korean

    You can’t really oversimplify it by just condeming Park’s legacy because his economic accomplishment goes along with it.

    Right, you can’t really oversimplify. When he was not murdering people, he was a nice person. 

  • jg29a

    Replace “economic development” with “not shelling Seoul, yet”, and the defense of dictatorship under PJH doesn’t strike me as fundamentally different from the Sunshine Policy’s assurance of the legitimacy of DPRK rule and having no desire to bring about a revolution there. Both trade off human rights and fundamental freedoms for many people, against practical considerations of other people, including the stability of the national economy and world economy. One difference is, nobody’s gonna give PGH a Nobel Peace Prize for her whitewashing of a brutal dictator and mass murderer.

    TK, I’m right there with you about PGH. But is it okay to sell out mass murder victims and slaves as long as they’re across a border?

  • http://www.askakorean.net/ The_Korean

    The answer is — of course not. But as you referred to it indirectly, it is more often the case that people who do not give a shit about the dictatorship that affected their own lives (PCH) are the most vigorous critics of the dictatorship that did not affect their lives. (KIS/KJI). It is pretty ridiculous.