PM Nominee Explains Controversial Remarks

Moon Chang-keuk, prime minister nominee, bows at a government building in Seoul on Sunday. Moon Chang-keuk, prime minister nominee, bows at a government building in Seoul on Sunday.

President Park Geun-hye's latest hapless nominee for prime minister, Moon Chang-keuk, on Sunday sought to douse a firestorm sparked by his incendiary remarks about Korea's troubled relationship with Japan.

In a four-page statement, Moon explained that remarks in a church lecture describing Japanese colonial rule and the Korean War as "God's will" were not meant as historical evaluations of these calamities but as a "religious perspective" he shared with people of the same faith.

He also apologized for telling students at Seoul National University that Korea needs to get over its obsession with extracting apologies from Japan for its World War II atrocities. "I realize that my remark unintentionally hurt some people. I sincerely apologize to them," he said.

The statement suggests that Moon has no intention of withdrawing from the nomination and will brave a National Assembly confirmation hearing.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 16, 2014 12:45 KST