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Yoon, PPP chief look around salvaged warship together after reported clash

By Yonhap

Published : March 22, 2024 - 18:57

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President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) and ruling People Power Party chief Han Dong-hoon shake hands during a ceremony marking West Sea Defense Day at the Navy's 2nd Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, 60 kilometers south of Seoul, Friday. (Presidential Office) President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) and ruling People Power Party chief Han Dong-hoon shake hands during a ceremony marking West Sea Defense Day at the Navy's 2nd Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, 60 kilometers south of Seoul, Friday. (Presidential Office)

President Yoon Suk Yeol and ruling People Power Party (PPP) chief Han Dong-hoon looked around a salvaged warship together Friday, in an apparent show of their bond following signs of discord ahead of the general elections, a presidential official said.

Yoon and Han met to tour the warship Cheonan at the Navy's 2nd Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, 60 kilometers south of Seoul, after both attended a memorial ceremony there to mark West Sea Defense Day.

The Cheonan is a corvette that sank in a North Korean torpedo attack in 2010, leaving 46 sailors aboard killed.

The presidential official said Yoon and Han talked about the need to properly counter and punish any force that threatens the nation. They also met and shook hands with family members of victims of the Cheonan sinking who were at the site.

"There's talk of discord between the party and the government, but it was a scene that showed that isn't true," the official said.

Talk of a clash between Yoon and Han emerged this week after the PPP chief publicly called for the immediate return of Ambassador to Australia Lee Jong-sup, who is under investigation over his alleged interference in a military probe into a Marine's death last year.

Han also called for the resignation of Hwang Sang-moo, then the senior presidential secretary for civil and social agenda, following intimidating remarks he made to reporters.

There was also a reported disagreement between the two over Han's choice of candidates for proportional representation seats in the upcoming April 10 parliamentary elections.

The growing number of controversies led to concern voters could turn their back on the PPP in an election crucial to ensuring Yoon can push his agenda in his remaining three years in office.

Yoon and Han are known to have been close for decades since their time as prosecutors.

But in January, the two clashed over how to handle allegations first lady Kim Keon Hee received a luxury handbag as a gift. (Yonhap)