September 20, 2023 12:53
Former President Moon Jae-in visited Minjoo Party leader Lee Jae-myung in hospital Tuesday to persuade him to end a Quixotic hunger strike he has been on for three weeks. But Lee made it clear that he had no plan to stop fasting.
Moon was in Seoul for the first time since he left Cheong Wa Dae when his term ended in May 2022. He came to attend an event marking the fifth anniversary of an abortive inter-Korean military pact in Yeouido.
But first he went to see Lee at Green Hospital in Jungnang in northern Seoul for about 20 minutes. Lee was barely conscious when he was rushed to hospital on Monday but has been refusing nourishment except for IV fluids.
"You've already shown your sincerity and resolve to the fullest extent," Moon was quoted as telling him. "But I think now is the time for you to recover your health as you will have to fight a long battle and the situation may change."
Without responding directly to Moon's advice, Lee blamed the current government. "I don't know what they have in mind when it comes to politics," he said.
Reminding Lee that he is no longer a free agent but leader of a large political party, Moon said, "You shouldn't forget that many people are concerned about your health and want you to be up and about again."
It was the first meeting in four months between Moon and Lee, whose relationship has been strained by conflict between their factions in the National Assembly. In May, Lee visited Moon's bookstore near his retirement home in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province.
Prosecutors have applied for an arrest warrant for Lee on corruption charges. Two motions seeking the lifting of Lee's immunity and the dismissal of Prime Minister Han Duck-soo -- part of Lee's smorgasbord of demands -- were submitted in parliament's plenary session on Wednesday.
They will be put to a vote on Thursday.
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