An opposition lawmaker came under fire Tuesday after he asked an unmarried female Fair Trade Commission chair nominee to “contribute to the country’s development” by giving birth.
At a confirmation hearing for Fair Trade Commission chair nominee Cho Sung-wook, Rep. Jung Kap-yoon of the Liberty Korea Party said Cho would be a perfect candidate for the post if she were married and had a child.
“What do you think is the biggest problem in Korean society?” the five-term lawmaker said at the parliamentary confirmation hearing Monday. “Currently, (the low) birth rate is ruining the country’s future.
“Your success is important, but I hope you can contribute to the country’s development, too,” he said.
Cho, a professor at Seoul National University and the first female nominee for the position, smiled awkwardly in response.
Ruling Democratic Party of Korea lawmaker Kim Byung-wook shot back, saying marital and family status have nothing to do with a candidate’s qualifications or morals.
Jung later made an apology, saying he was speaking ad lib to address the issue of the low birth rate and did not mean to hurt the nominee.
By Ock Hyun-ju (firstname.lastname@example.org)