Chun In-bum, a former ROK Special Warfare Command Commander who recently joined the Minjoo Party as its national security advisor, announced on Friday that he would no longer be working for Moon Jae-in’s campaign.
Chun, who openly announced his support for presidential candidate Moon last Saturday, quickly came under criticism when his wife Shin Hwa-jin, president of Sungshin Women’s University, was found guilty of embezzling university funds.
“I sincerely apologize,” Chun wrote on his official Facebook account. “I tried to provide help (to Moon), but unintentionally, my carelessness has brought troubles to Moon Jae-in, the former leader of the Minjoo Party.”
He stated that he would return to the U.S. to continue his research at the Brookings Institution, and would pray for Moon’s victory in the upcoming South Korean elections.
“I will return to the U.S. and will do my best to (let the U.S. government know) how seriously Moon takes the North Korean nuclear issue, his unwavering support for the U.S., and his will to strengthen the ROK-U.S. alliance even better.”
While his wife’s imprisonment is seen as one of his primary reasons for stepping down, a recent interview with South Korea’s Ohmynews also sparked controversy.
Chun was asked what he thought about Chun Doo-hwan, South Korea’s former President, who was found guilty in 1997 of ordering the ROK Special Warfare Command to open fire on the hundreds of protestors in May 1980, during what has become known as the Gwangju Uprising.
“We still do not know who gave the word to fire… I don’t think the president Chun Doo-hwan gave the order (to open fire). However, he can’t escape from the responsibilities. That was why they went to the jail,” Chun said.
After the interview was released on Thursday, Chun and Moon both faced heavy criticism.
“We question Moon Jae-in, the former leader of Minjoo Party’s intention for recruiting a person who is the antithesis of May 18 Democratic Uprising,” Joo Seung-yong of the minor opposition People’s Party said on Friday, just a few hours before Chun announced his resignation.
“It was Moon Jae-in who recruited Chun In-bum… and is Moon’s responsibility. How will Moon… apologize to the people of Gwangju?” the party’s spokesperson added.
“I once again deeply apologize,” part of Chun’s Friday announcement said. “My admiration towards May 18 Democratic Uprising and the fact that Chun Doo-hwan is who is responsible for (the massacre) remains unchanged.”
The latest South Korean polls during the controversy showed that Moon Jae-in’s popularity dropped three percent, from 32 percent to 29 since last week.
Chun In-bum, who retired from active duty in 2016, was the youngest officer in the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army history to be an aide to a three-star general with the rank of lieutenant, and from April 2015, he was the deputy commander of the First ROK Army.
Chun recently wrote an open letter to Kim Jong Un for NK News, in which he urged the North Korean leader to negotiate with South Korea and the U.S., and wrote that his preference was for “peace and prosperity.”
Featured Image: Chun In-bum’s Facebook
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