Lee Rae-kyung, the newly appointed head of the main opposition Democratic Party’s(DP) special innovation committee, has offered to step down from the post amid controversy over past remarks.
Lee, the leader of a left-leaning civic group, announced his decision to turn down the appointment in a notice to the press at around 7 p.m. Monday.
He said that he had made the difficult decision as a citizen to lead the overhaul committee in order to contribute to the opening of a new future for the country by changing the DP, but his personal opinions and judgment regrettably became the subject of political strife.
He expressed hope that the DP will find the right person to guide the party to overcome the national crisis and move toward the path of new politics.
The resignation came nine hours after DP chair Lee Jae-myung announced the appointment during a meeting of the party’s Supreme Council on Monday, vowing that the leadership will respect and adhere to the innovation group’s revamp proposals.
Controversy arose shortly after over the new head’s past remarks displaying far-left, anti-U.S. inclinations.
When a Chinese reconnaissance balloon was shot down in U.S. airspace in February, Lee posted on Facebook that the U.S. exaggerated an off-course weather balloon as a national threat.
In the same post, he accused the U.S. of destroying inter-Korean relations by orchestrating the Cheonan incident, intimating that North Korea's 2010 sinking of the South Korean naval ship Cheonan was staged.
He also made heavily critical remarks about President Yoon Suk Yeol and his policies.