The Korea Herald


Yet another Yoon appointee faces impeachment threat

Democratic Party of Korea once again leads calls for firing Cabinet member

By Kim Arin

Published : Nov. 9, 2023 - 18:15

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Lee Dong-kwan, the head of the broadcaster regulator Korea Communications Commission, attends the plenary session of the National Assembly on Thursday. (Yonhap) Lee Dong-kwan, the head of the broadcaster regulator Korea Communications Commission, attends the plenary session of the National Assembly on Thursday. (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol is again being pressured by the main opposition to remove one of the minister-level heads in his Cabinet.

The Democratic Party of Korea, which has the majority in the National Assembly, on Thursday adopted a motion to impeach Lee Dong-kwan as the head of the country’s broadcasting regulator, the Korea Communications Commission.

The opposition party said that Lee, who was appointed on Aug. 25 to lead the KCC, the mission of which is to monitor broadcasting content and standards, was aiding what the party called the president’s “crackdown on news media.”

Rep. Ko Min-jung, a Democratic Party lawmaker on the Assembly’s broadcasting and communications committee, said that the KCC head has “repeatedly expressed hostility toward critical news coverage” of the Yoon administration.

“If we don’t remove him from his post, we wouldn’t doing our job as lawmakers to stop the administration’s assault on press freedom,” she said.

On the Democratic Party’s move to impeach the presidential appointee, the ruling People Power Party said the opposition party was “weaponizing impeachment motions” with its Assembly majority.

Ruling party head Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon said the opposition party has “gotten into a habit of threatening the government with impeachments against one Cabinet member after another.”

“The Democratic Party appears to be solely invested in rocking the president, without any regard for a stable government,” he said.

Since Yoon took office in May last year, the Democratic Party passed or pushed to pass motions for impeaching several of the president’s Cabinet ministers and other officials.

One of the latest to face calls for impeachment from the Democratic Party is Lee Jong-sup, the former minister of national defense. Lee, who was replaced by Shin Won-sik on Oct. 7 after offering to resign, was accused by the opposition party of trying to interfere with investigations into the death of a marine during a search-and-rescue operation in July.

Among other ministers the Democratic Party has sought to impeach is Minister of Foreign Affairs Park Jin, who was faulted over Yoon’s “lenient” policy toward Japan. The party said the the president made “humiliating concessions” with Tokyo by agreeing to compensate the South Korean victims of forced mobilization by imperial Japan through a Seoul-based fund.

The Constitutional Court on July 26 struck down the Democratic Party-led motion to impeach Minister of Interior and Safety Lee Sang-min, saying that no violations of law were found in the minister’s performance of his duties.

In an escalating row with Yoon, Democratic Party head Rep. Lee Jae-myung went on a hunger strike for 24 days until Sept. 23, urging the president to fire his entire Cabinet to take accountability for the “failures” of his first year in office.

Despite protest from the ruling party, the Democratic Party on Sept. 21 unilaterally passed a motion asking the president to let go of Prime Minister Han Duck-soo -- marking the first instance of the passage of such a motion against a sitting prime minister.