The PM fiasco: it’d be funny if it weren’t so serious

Is there really anything anyone can say about this?

President Park Geun-hye on Thursday retained Prime Minister Chung Hong-won, a sign that underscores the difficulty in finding a qualified nominee for the country’s No. 2 job.

Chung offered to quit in April following a deadly ferry disaster, but Park turned down his resignation offer and asked him to keep his job, said Yoon Doo-hyun, the senior presidential press secretary.

Park took the step as she “could not leave the situation as it is” at a time when the country is divided over a series of issues exposed by the process leading to a parliamentary confirmation hearing, said Yoon.

Over 50 million people in a country that leans markedly center-right, and Park can’t find a half-way decent suit to fill the PM position?

And in case you’ve forgotten how we got to this point:

To help resolve the manpower problem, Park is bringing back a presidential secretary position in charge of personnel management; the position had been done away with by President Lee. There’s a lot of politicking and attempted blame-shifting going on, too, particularly by the right, which would like this to be about anything else BUT President Park’s questionable personnel choices.

Social media, meanwhile, is expressing its frustration with this fiasco. These tweets by Chin Jung-kwon sums up the “WTF” mood best:

  • John Lee

    That was unexpected, wasn’t it?

    But I was of the opinion that Prime Minister Chung didn’t have to resign over the Sewol incident anyway.

  • JinJoo

    The left wing politicians even proposed 문창극 방지법 ‘Moon Chang Guk Prevention Law’. Basically this is a law that states that whoever criticises the Chosun dynasty and says positive things about the Japanese Rule will go to jail.

    The Chosun era was so horrible that by comparison, the life of ordinary Korean people under Japanese rule was to some extent better (eg:the Gabo Reform). Even if the Japanese had no intention of making the life of Koreans better – in fact their aim would have been entirely to benefit themselves – the reality is that 상놈계급 (common people who were exploited by 양반s) nevertheless benefited.

    In the controversial speech, Moon was essentially saying that it was the Korean people’s fault (because the late Chosun was led by weak Go-Jong and corrupted pro-Chinese officials) that Korea came under Japanese rule, and that we should wake up and shouldn’t make same mistake twice. Korea today is modern version of late Chosun (season 2). But KBS and the left-wing press, who aired/ printed the edited the controversial speech, presented stories as if Moon is Chinilpa. According to HanGeoReh article Robert posted, without repenting, they are saying they are the ones who are being witch-hunted. What a comedy!

    Whoever PGH nominates, cannot win! Even if Jesus and Buddha are nominated, the media/ press will conduct a witch hunt.

    Jesus: “Those who have not sinned cast the first stone at that woman”.
    Korean media/press: (After editing part of what Jesus said): “That cruel Jesus incites people to throw stones at that poor woman”

    Jesus: “Snakes! Brood of vipers! How can you escape being condemned to hell?”
    The Press: “Just listen to the vulgar words (foul language) of that man.”

    Buddha: “In heaven above and on earth below, I am the most honoured one.”
    The press: “What a self-righteous man! Listen to that ultimate pride.”

  • JinJoo

    HanGeoReh says “청문회는 철저한 후보 검증을 위한 제도다.”

    The chairperson for the hearing (청문회) is Park Ji-won, spokesperson and the right-arm for KDJ during the KDJ administration. This is the very man who splashed money to the press.

    ‘박지원: 거짓말, 불법, 탈세의 대부’ ‘대한민국 언론인 중에 박지원의 돈 안먹은 놈 있으면 나와보라고 해!’

    It is well-known that he has been convicted of committing all kinds of illegal acts. He is the person who needs to be judged by the public,but he is the one who is judging others. What a comedy!

  • bumfromkorea

    I did laugh out loud when I first heard about this…

    The real question is, just how short is PGH’s shortlist for the PM nomination? Don’t tell me they didn’t have anyone else left after they filtered the “corruption” and “Pro-Empire” categories out.

  • Seoulgoodman

    “Over 50 million people in a country that leans markedly center-right,
    and Park can’t find a half-way decent suit to fill the PM position?”

    Clearly he never intended to resign. It was just a face-saving move on his and his political party’s part ahead of the elections in order to mitigate the political damage.

  • Aja Aja

    Moon never said anything positive about the Japanese rule. But his comments are falsely misinterpreted, as if he really claimed that the Japanese rule was a good thing. It’s typical how the left continues to twist around facts for their own mass propaganda.

  • redwhitedude

    Just appoint her younger bro. So what if he did drugs what difference does it make from others who have gotten in controversies and corruption.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    I think he did intend to resign and in fact think that he was likely asked to resign. If it were merely political theater, PGH would have rejected his resignation.

    BTW, none of those announcements, even when voluntary (“to spend more time with my family”) come as a surprise to the president. The PM certainly told the President what he intended to announce.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    redwhitedude: “Just appoint her younger bro.”

    …and such an appointment demonstrates a political process away from the cronyism that is seen as a root cause of this disaster how?

  • JinJoo

    An interesting post worth reading when you have time.

    ‘Who are the real Chin’Ilpas?’

  • redwhitedude

    Well her brother is an outsider not involved in politics. But any appointment has been snagged by one controversy or another. Perhaps going for the younger generation will do the job avoiding any mess. It’s just an annoying distracting side show.

  • RElgin

    Party reform is needed, forced retirement is needed.

  • brier

    She needs to reach into the 368 generation and find somebody acceptable. But that will most likely never happen.

  • redwhitedude

    Her ability to bring new people in will make or break her administration. Some of her stance whether it be domestic or foreign are questionable. She badly needs people to right her administration.

  • JinJoo

    Regarding 문창극 방지법 ‘Moon Chang Guk Prevention Law’, I reworded what the law is about

    “Moon never said anything positive about the Japanese rule.”
    => Exactly! Nor did he insult the comfort women/ independence.fighters (his own grandfather was a independence fighter!). By now, I should get used to it, but I am always astonished with the way the left continues to distort/ twist around facts.

  • John Lee

    I believe they’re called elections and/or parliamentary hearings aka witch hunts.

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  • Tapp

    El Spamo, againo

  • Tapp

    I understand you support the right, but neither of the political arms has a clean track record when it comes to distorting facts to their benefit. Politicians from all sides become spin-doctors or they stop advancing. None of them can be trusted from what I’ve seen.

  • JinJoo

    The right-wing and left-wing Korean politicians wink at each other when no one watches them (meaning right-wing politicians are not authentic conservative right-wingers).

    I don’t blindly support the right. I don’t trust the mainstream media (yes, including Chosun, JoongAng and Dong-A). However, there are a handful politicians (including PGH & Lee Hoe-Chang)/ public figures who DO care for the future of Korea, and they just happen to be conservative right-wingers.

    To understand the left-wing politicians/ media, you have to know the enormous influences China has over them. The leftists who have sold their soul to the devil (China) will continuously fight tooth and nail to subvert PGH government.

  • redwhitedude

    I’m picturing Adam Sandler saying that. 😀

  • redwhitedude

    Help! PGH is sailing a rudderless ship!

  • Koreandumbdumb

    What if it was all scenario-ed right after Sewol? The prime minister resigns and then candidates with problems (some of these were fed by PGH to the press) are named and finally the ultra-right candidate falls. This provides an excellent excuse to bring the old one back. Am I giving too much credit to PGH’s ability to govern?

  • piratariaazul

    Would a new PM really change anything?

    It seems like the Sewol incident happened due to systemic reasons. Politicians are to blame for not doing anything to change the broad set of rules which created the perverse incentives that led to the tragedy. But changing one guy in the control room, without more, will accomplish nothing.

    It strikes me that all this is very Confucian: The notion that if the President just had the right person there – a virtuous one – right decisions would have been made.

    Of course, the other approach is to assume that everyone is a crook, or potentially a crook, and will act in self interest. Then create a set of rules that incentivizes decision makers to make the “right” decisions based on self-interest.

  • redwhitedude

    What doesn’t help is that PGH is the president. Korea needs somebody who is a reformer and has the balls to clean things up.

  • piratariaazul

    Well, but “to whose benefit”? The problem is that nobody who matters would benefit from changing the rules of the game . . . .

    Even if the man/woman on the top did want to reform (or “cleanup”) anything, the mechanisms of governance (i.e., the bureaucracy, courts, etc. etc.) and big business are packed with folks who benefit from the existing system. More importantly, these folks had to work very hard to get where they are . . . .

    So, those who could carry out change have absolutely zero incentive to do so.

    This issue is not academic, because Japan has faced similar problems for decades. Look where they are now — stuck in a demographic death-spiral, but unable to find a way out of the tail spin, ’cause of inertia.

    I guess their PM feels that jingoism can be catalyst for change — But without changes to existing sets of incentives, fat chance.

    When Korea looks at Japan today, it’s looking at itself within a decade.

  • redwhitedude

    The man/woman would have to somehow coopt them. Convince them that change would offer them even better terms. The question also revolves around how things like FTA is going to be enforced because that will also be affected by this.

  • JinJoo

    PGH ,as just one person, can only do so much unless she declares the 2nd Yushin. The question is, does she have guts to do it? And, she doesn’t have many people she can trust.

    History repeats itself.

    Chosun didn’t only have weak pro-Ming kings. Throughout the Chosun era, there were kings who tried to exclude/fight against Ming’s influence, the kings who were very aware that Chosun needed complete reforms. What happened to these kings? They were either deposed in a coup or excuted or poisoned by 사림파 pro-Chinese (pro-Ming) Sarim-faction.

  • redwhitedude

    It’s pretty apparent that in order to have a clue reforming Korea there is going to be some unconventional thinking by Korean standards. All the factions spew out the same old thing.

  • JinJoo

    Korea needs a complete reform (the judiciary, the prosecution, the police force, the education system 등등)

    Especially the media…..

    Unless the mainstream media is reformed, we have no hope. PGH needs support by the majority of Koreans, but how can Koreans know what’s going when the media is not telling the truth?

    The so-called leftwing press HanGeoReh, Geong Hwang and O-my-new etc. only talk about pro-Japan collaborators. Ironically many of left-wing politicians are the descendants of pro-Japanese collaborators.

    So-called rightwing Chosun, Dong-A and Joong-Ang only talk about pro-North Korean collaborators, and how dangerous North Korea is etc., to deliberately distract the attention of the public from what China is up to.

    The mainstream press never talk about how every aspect of Korean society is being sino-cized – how Korea is being eaten slowly, by China!

    They are all descendants of the Sarim faction who had no problem selling their soul to Japan during the late Chosun to maintain their vested interests – and after Korea became independent, they became pro-Chinese collaborators again.

  • JinJoo

    Today, whether it is politicians, media, educators, lefties or righties doesn’t mean anything in Korea. The lefties don’t have the genuine ideological beliefs that the real lefties, who really cared about creating a better society, had during the 1950s.

    With no genuine left and right, the distinction we can make today is between the pro-Chinese group and the group that really cares for the future of Korea.

    Also, wrt 친일파, there were two types of pro-Japanese groups at the time of Japanese imperialism: the vicious pro-Japanese group (ironically the Sarim faction belongs to this group) who were so disloyal to Korea and Koreans, and the group who wanted to wait for the right time, secretly building a power base by trying to learn modern education/ technology).

    Korea today is modern version of late Chosun, with corrupted pro-Chinese officials and politicians who have sold their soul to the devil. We could ask, incidentally – are they actually Chinese descendants? This is purely speculation, but close to 400,0000 Ming Dynasty’s high officials escaped to Chosun after Ming got defeated by Qing.

  • Sumo294

    The nucleus of the Norks were intellectuals who genuinely cared about reform and they were actually trying to improve the lives of their fellow agrarian proletariat. What good are intentions when such badness and evil is the end result? Capitalism on the philosophical level is horrid–that man should work in his self interest. But it feeds the nation–South Korea eats well tonight and the Norks starve. Being level headed, reasonable and educated is much better than any so called reformer with good intentions–the ones who believed that property was to be shared and that all mankind should benevolently eat from the same rice bowl.

  • JinJoo


    “….close to 400,000 (not 400,0000) Ming Dynasty’s high-ranked officials escaped to Chosun after Ming got defeated by Qing.”

  • Kuiwon

    소중화사상(小中華思想) wasn’t limited to the 사림파(士林派)/노론파(老論派). It’s was widespread during the Chosun dynasty. Even members of the reformist 북학파(北學派) were advocating that Koreans start speaking Mandarin. They looked up to China for many reasons. For one, because of its remarkable lack of social caste system. European observers of pre-modern China noted how fluid social classes were in China. In addition, China had eliminated hereditary slavery quite early in its history, while Korea had it until the 19th century. Chosun reformers pointed at China as a model.

    I am not “pro-Chinese,” but I can see where these people are coming from. I take a rather nuanced view of this.

  • JinJoo

    소중화사상(小中華思想) wasn’t limited to the 사림파(士林派)/노론파(老論派). It’s was widespread during the Chosun dynasty

    => Yes, during the mid-late Chosun dynasty. 연산군, 광해군, 소현세자, 사도세자 and Jeong-jo, however, tried to exclude pro-ming Sarim faction.

    훈구파 Hungu faction, who had power during the early Chosun dynasty, tried to realise a dream of national prosperity and defense (milltary power). 성리학 Neo-onfusionism doesn’t have just one philosophical theroy, there are many theories and Hungu-faction only studied one of the theories that was pragmatic (실용학).

    I can see that 박제가 was a very pro-ming Qing reformist, but from
    “우리말을 버려야 오랑캐의 글자라는 모욕을 피할 수 있다. 그래야 저절로 “주·한·당·송”의 풍속과 기운을 뒤찾을 수 있다. “,
    I can also see that he was advocating 소중화사상 at the same time.

    Ironic because Qing (the manchurians), apart from using Chinese characters, didn’t want to assimilate in any way with Han Chinese (their tradition etc).

    After Ming got defeated by Qing, 선조 (the most idiotic king Jo-seon ever had) and Sarim faction declared that Chosun was the last inheritors of Chinese (Ming) civilization. 후금 (later became Qing), that was founded by Manchurians (the descendants of Gogureo), initially regarded Chosun as the country of their parents and offered help during the Imgin War, but Seon-jo, flatly said he didn’t need barbarians’ help.

    “…because of its remarkable lack of social caste system.”

    => China eliminated the hereditary slavery basically because (of the population) they couldn’t manage it. Instead, they made bride buying as their tradition

    “Many Koreans looked up to China for many reasons.”

    => In the old days, to Koreans, China was the most developed country and there were a lot to learn from them, but today? What do we learn from China that is basically run by gangsters?

  • JinJoo

    “Also, you don’t need to speculate. Many family clans do claim Chinese lineage, …”.

    => According to Chinese press, ex-president No Tae-woo said his ancestor is Chinese.

    (I read the newspaper article on Naver few months ago, but it somehow disappeared.)

    Today, there are many politicians whose ethnic heritages are questionable. And the mainstream historians who don’t say anything about China’s Northeast project…..the Chosun Kings who tried to exclude Ming’s influence and tried to reform Chosun are all described as tyrants and/ or psychopath by mainstream pro-Chinese historians.

  • JinJoo

    “Many Koreans looked up to China for many reasons. For one, because of its remarkable lack of social caste system.”

    => I don’t think yangbans (and it wasn’t common people who preached 소중화 사상, right?) looked up to China for this reason. They fiercely wanted to maintain the caste system.

    Anyway, Four Classes of society: scholars, farmers, artisans, and tradesmen pretty much prevented Chosun from developing.

  • Kuiwon

    “Today, there are many politicians whose ethnic heritages are questionable…”

    I am not aware of any study that concludes that there is a gene that is correlated with Sinophilia (pro-Chinese sentiment). I’m from a family clan that claims ancestry from India (and possibly China: ). Am I “questionable” for having such genetic traits?

  • Kuiwon

    Your point is…?

  • JinJoo

    Hungu faction (who also studied/ researched Dangun Chosun) and Bukhakpa (who pretty much denied that China was the centre of the world, rejected neo-confucianism and tried to eliminate yangban lineage) really cared for Chosun and its people, but to Sarim maintaining their power (their vested interests) and preaching 소중화사상 were more important than anything els.

    Sarimpa even built a Mandongmyo ( dedicated to Ming emperors, so I am speculating that Hungupa and Bukhakpa were real chosun people, but Sarimpa (not early Sarim faction, but the ones from mid-late) might be Han Chinese.

  • JinJoo

    My ancestor could be Chinese too (and/or probably bought Jokbo). My
    commentary have nothing to do with 핏줄. It’s to do with, regardless of
    their 핏줄, whether they regard themselves as Koreans and royal to Korea. During Vietnam war, it was mostly Chinese who fled Vietnam; they didn’t choose to be left or right as they probably didn’t regard Vietnam as their country even if many generations of their families have lived in Vietnam.

    The so called Korea’s 다문화정책 is nothing to do with Korea’s low birthrate and matchmaking Korean men and Southeast asian women (99% of these couples end up in divorce by the way). It is, in fact, a project (다문화공정) to move part of Chinese population (from mainland China) to Korea. 10 million will probably do….and if they obtain permanent resident status with the right to vote…

    So, from observing what is going on, I am questioning… ‘are these politicians really Koreans?’

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