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#Hot Issues of the Week l 2019-09-08
Justice minister nominee Cho Kuk opened his confirmation hearing on Friday by apologizing to the South Korean people.
"I greatly disappointed the people with issues regarding myself and my family. Moreover, I deeply apologize to the country's young generation striving for new opportunities. It's all my fault. I sincerely apologize to the people who felt deprived and hurt from all this."
Cho referred to the series of misconduct allegations involving himself and his family as "excessive social privileges," but reaffirmed his will to complete the Moon Jae-in administration's reform drive as justice minister.
"Despite [the concerns], I believe I have a calling that I must fulfill. It is my determination to place a small stone for the work of establishing a society where the state authority is properly functioning by checks and balances and the basic rights of all the people are guaranteed for their humane lives."
"I believe completing reforms of the judiciary and the prosecution as I have promised would be my duty and my way of returning the privileges I enjoyed to the people."
At the hearing, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party(LKP) grilled the nominee about fresh allegations that he asked Dongyang University President Choi Sung-hae to give false testimony regarding his daughter.
The university president told KBS on Thursday that Cho asked him to publicly state that he had authorized Cho's wife, a Dongyang University professor, to issue a president's award. The award is suspected of being fabricated and aiding her daughter's acceptance to a medical school.
Admitting he had spoken to the university president, the nominee told a ruling party lawmaker that he did not ask him to cover up for his family.
If the Dongyang University award was forged, [would you agree that] you can't be justice minister?
: Justice Minister Nominee Cho Kuk: If that's confirmed, it will cause big problems.
Will it be legally actionable?
: Justice Minister Nominee Cho Kuk: If my wife did that, she should be held legally liable and everyone is equal under the law.
Cho also maintained his daughter volunteered at the university, adding it's up to the prosecution to decide whether the award she received for the volunteer work was forged.
The LKP also accused the nominee's daughter of lying about other various volunteer work and internship experiences and raised suspicion that the nominee solicited professors for his daughter's internships, all of which Cho denied.
However, the ruling party criticized the opposition for disclosing the daughter's high school student record, which is considered private property. The nominee expressed hope that law enforcement would find those who leaked the record.