S. Korea’s Moon apology Park insulted amid fierce presidential race

SEOUL, Dec. 24 – South Korean President Moon Jae-in has pardoned former President Park Geun-hye, who was jailed on corruption charges, the Ministry of Justice said on Friday.

Park, 69, became South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be ousted when the Constitutional Court upheld the 2017 parliamentary vote. Blame her for a scandal It also imprisoned leaders of two companies, including Samsung.

He was dropped after allegedly colluding with a friend to obtain billions in bribes from major corporations to fund his friend’s family and nonprofit foundations.

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In January, South Korea’s Supreme Court sentenced Park to 20 years in prison on corruption charges, ending his fall, which put an end to the legal process.

Yu Yong-ha, the park’s lawyer, said Park apologized for causing concern to the public and thanked Moon for making the difficult decision.

Amnesty Park’s office said the aim was to “break the tragic past history, improve people’s unity and join hands for the future.”

“I hope this will provide an opportunity to go beyond differences in ideas and pros and cons and open a new era of integration and solidarity,” his spokesman was quoted as saying.

Moon had previously promised not to pardon corruption perpetrators. But many supporters and politicians of the Conservative main opposition People’s Power Party have called for Park to be pardoned ahead of the March presidential election, citing his deteriorating health and deep political tensions.

South Korean ousted leader Park Geun-hye appeared in court on August 25, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. REUTERS / Kim Hong-Ji / File Photo

Opposition lawmakers say Park suffered health problems while in prison, including shoulder surgery.

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Park’s imprisonment turned into a political hot potato, which divided the country, with conservatives holding weekly rallies in Seoul demanding his release and criticizing the moon until the outbreak of the Govt-19 epidemic.

In a poll conducted by Gallup Korea in November, 48% of respondents opposed an apology to Park and the League, but that number had dropped to 60% earlier this year.

Kim Mi-jion, 42, who lives in the southern city of Guangxi, said the park’s apology was timely. Zhang Yun-soo, from Hwaseong, near Seoul on the west coast of South Korea, said his release was politically motivated.

Moon’s ruling Democrat flag bearer Lee Jae – Myung and People’s Power candidate Eun Suk-yol have been seen neck and neck in recent polls.

Lee said he understood Moon’s “pain” and valued his decision for national unity, but that Park should apologize genuinely for the scandal.

Jun said Park’s apology was welcome despite the delay, but did not elaborate with reporters’ questions about whether he could resume political action.

The forerunner of the park, even conservative Lee Myung-bak, A prisoner on corruption charges has not been pardoned.

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Report by Josh Smith and Hyun Hee Shin; Editing by Matthew Lewis, Jerry Doyle and Michael Perry Additional report by Yeni Cio and Tokyun Kim

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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