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Moon, Yoon to hold luncheon on Wednesday

Two will have candid private conversation; pardon for former President Lee to be discussed

President Moon Jae-in and the then prosecutor general Yoon Suk-yeol head to a meeting after Yoon was awarded a letter of appointment on July 25, 2019. Yonhap
President Moon Jae-in and the then prosecutor general Yoon Suk-yeol head to a meeting after Yoon was awarded a letter of appointment on July 25, 2019. Yonhap
President Moon Jae-in will hold a luncheon meeting with President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol at Cheong Wae Dae on Wednesday, the presidential office said Tuesday. Yoon will ask for a pardon for former President Lee Myung-bak.

The meeting between the two is the first time in seven days since the presidential election and 21 months since Yoon visited Cheong Wa Dae to attend the Anti-Corruption Policy Council in 2020, when he served as the prosecutor general.

“This luncheon will be held without any attendees to have a candid conversation,” Cheong Wa Dae said about the meeting.

Yoon’s spokesperson Kim Eun-hye said at a morning briefing on the day that Yoon will ask for a pardon for former President Lee.

“Yoon has long maintained the idea of asking for a pardon for former President Lee Myung-bak,” Kim said. “Therefore, we hope that this meeting will provide an opportunity for national unity and harmony.”

Lee was given a 17-year sentence by the Supreme Court for bribery and embezzlement in October 2020.

President Moon has not expressed any special position on the issue of Lee’s pardon since granting amnesty to former President Park Geun-hye in December last year. However, if Moon accepts Yoon’s request, there is a possibility that he will give a pardon to Lee on the Buddha’s Birthday holiday, which falls on May 9 this year, a day before the end of his term.

There is also an expectation that Kim Kyung-soo, the former governor of South Gyeongsang Province, could also be pardoned in line with Lee’s release. Moon’s close aide Kim was sentenced to two years in prison by the Supreme Court for computer business obstruction last July.

Rep. Kwon Sung-dong of the People Power Party said in a radio interview on Tuesday he was “100 percent sure” that both Lee and Kim would be pardoned. “Lee was left (in prison) to save Moon’s close aide Kim and to pardon them simultaneously,” he said.

In a radio interview on Tuesday morning, Kim Ki-hyun, floor leader of the People Power Party, requested a pardon for Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong.

Kim said Samsung is not a domestic company now, but in a way, it is at a scale that dominates the Korean economy. “It is necessary to take a look at it in terms of the larger framework of Korea’s economy.”

In addition to the issue of amnesty, the revised supplementary budget related to COVID-19, compensation for self-employed people and small business owners and North Korea’s missile provocations are expected to take place at the meeting.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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