The progressive politician Rhyu Si-min, a former health and welfare minister, said Tuesday he will retire from politics.
"I hope to live the life I want before it's too late," Rhyu tweeted from an undisclosed location in the countryside. Reporters trying to contact him found his mobile phone turned off.
An aide said Rhyu recently finished writing a book and plans to hold signings, give lectures and continue writing.
An ex-journalist, Rhyu entered politics in 2002 and became one of the most aggressive supporters of former president Roh Moo-hyun. More recently he has been co-chairman of the newly formed United Progressive Party.