Lee claims ‘unlimited responsibility’ for appointment 2023

Democratic Party (DP) chairman Lee Jae-Myung stated Wednesday that he will assume “unlimited responsibility” for the controversy surrounding the innovation committee’s head’s selection and resignation earlier this week.

Progressive political activist Lee Rae-kyung was designated DP Chairman Lee’s innovation committee chairman on Monday, but he resigned nine hours later after outrage.

“It is the duty of the party’s chairman to take unlimited responsibility for the results,” DP leader Lee told reporters at the National Assembly in western Seoul regarding the issue surrounding his appointee’s swift resignation.

“The party leader must always be held accountable for what happens in the party,” he said, without specifying how.

Lee Rae-kyung, chair of the progressive non-profit media platform The Tomorrow, was criticized for his claims that the South Korean Navy corvette ROKS Cheonan sank by self-detonation in March 2010 instead of being torpedoed by the North, as the South Korean-led multinational investigation concluded. The Cheonan sinking killed 46 sailors.

Lee pledges “unlimited responsibility” for appointment.

Lee, a member of the DP group close to the party president, announced his resignation Monday, citing a “political witch hunt” over his private statements.

This follows allegations from the DP section opposed to Lee Jae-myung that the chairman is avoiding accountability and not reforming the party.

Even other DP leaders criticized Lee for not verifying the new innovation committee head’s selection.

As the DP faced various issues, including charges that lawmakers and party members received cash envelopes as bribes before a 2021 national conference to install Song Young-gil as party leader, it launched a new innovation committee.

Rep. Kim Nam-kuk, who became an independent member, also faced suspicions about the 2021 party convention and his bitcoin transactions.

Lee is indicted for bribery and breach of trust related to two Gyeonggi land development projects from his time as Seongnam mayor.

DP Rep. Lee Sang-min told KBS radio Wednesday that Lee Jae-myung “responded very inappropriately” to the cash envelope claims and cryptocurrency incident involving his close aide Rep. Kim Nam-guk.

Rep. Kwon Chil-seung, the DP’s senior spokesman and former minister of SMEs and startups, was also criticized for insulting Choi Won-il, the former captain of the 2010 Cheonan corvette.

Kwon asked Choi on Monday, “How dare you can make such bold demand after killing the sailors under your command?”

Survivors said the skipper wouldn’t leave until his crew was rescued.

After public criticism, Kwon issued a press statement saying he “sympathizes” with the victims’ families and survivors and meant to convey that “a commander must feel responsibility on a different level.”

People Power Party (PPP) MPs, including party chairman Kim Gi-hyeon, said on Wednesday, “Many people are angered by the behavior of the DP leadership.”

Kim requested DP Chairman Lee’s apologies and severe punishment for senior spokesperson Kwon’s statements.

In a news conference on Wednesday, Kwon apologized to the Cheonan captain.

“As a political party spokesman, I apologize to all those who may have been hurt, including the bereaved families of the Cheonan sailors, for using inappropriate expressions,” Kwon stated, bending his head.

Kwon further asserted that in an earlier parliamentary meeting, perhaps during his stint as SMEs minister, he “stated that the Cheonan incident was the work of North Korea.”

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