November 16, 2016 10:42
President Park Geun-hye is digging in her heels amid a snowballing scandal, insisting on the threadbare dignity of her office even as the trail of criminal activity leads straight to her inner sanctum.
Cheong Wa Dae made it clear on Tuesday that the beleaguered president is not considering resigning and demanded that prosecutors postpone questioning her and do it on paper rather than face to face.
Presidential spokesman Jung Youn-kuk told reporters that Park is "considering all options" to deal with the massive influence-peddling scandal involving her crony Choi Soon-sil. But when asked whether she is considering stepping down, Jung said, "Not that."
Park is also reluctant to set a timeframe for her to resign eventually after forming a transitional Cabinet that will handle the next election to choose a new leader.
The president is mulling another address to the nation after two previous apologies failed to quell protests. She is expected to lay out plans for the appointment of a new prime minister with special powers to handle domestic affairs.
Regarding calls for Park to be impeached, a Cheong Wa Dae official said, "Impeachment is handled by the National Assembly according to the Constitution and not a matter for us to talk about."
Park's lawyer Yoo Yeong-ha in a press conference in front of the Seoul High Prosecutors' Office in southern Seoul said, "An investigation of the president should be carried out in a way that minimizes any effect on the performance of her duties."
"It is reasonable that any investigation of the president should take place in the final stage after the prosecution has established factual grounds by looking into all allegations."
Yoo also demanded investigators question Park in writing and requested them to give him more time to check the facts behind a series of allegations linking the president to the scandal. He said prosecutors should minimize the number of face-to-face interviews even if they are inevitable.
But prosecutors are insisting on a face-to-face interview on Thursday if Wednesday is not possible.
Meanwhile, Moon Jae-in, a former chief of what is now the Minjoo Party and leading presidential hopeful, vowed to begin a nationwide drive to oust Park.
"I shall work with the people on a nationwide movement until the president announces her unconditional resignation," Moon told reporters, and vowed to work with other opposition parties and civic groups.
Up to 1 million people from all walks of life marched peacefully on Cheong Wa Dae on Saturday calling for the resignation of Park, whose approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of five percent.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com