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Parliament calls SMEs minister nominee 'unfit' in hearing report

2017/09/13 16:07

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SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- A parliamentary panel on Wednesday adopted a report on the outcome of its confirmation hearing on the SMEs and startups minister nominee, calling him unfit due to his controversial religious and historical views, and allegations of past misdeeds.

The publication of the report is seen as a formality as a ministerial appointment does not require the National Assembly's consent. But it remains unclear whether President Moon Jae-in will press ahead with his appointment amid objections even from within the ruling party ranks.

Since Moon tapped Park Seong-jin, the 48-year-old engineering professor at Pohang University of Science and Technology, to lead the newly minted ministry last month, criticism has raged over his past remarks and publications.

One of the disputed remarks was that South Korea was founded in 1948, a view strongly advocated by the ousted former leader Park Geun-hye. Moon insists the national foundation dates back to 1919, when Korea's provisional government was established in Shanghai during Japan's colonial rule.

Park was also attacked over his past activity as a member of the Korea Association for Creation Research, an entity that some argue denies evolution theory and specializes in creation science.

The nominee has also come under fire for tax evasion in 2015, for which he apologized during his hearing Monday.

This photo, taken Sept. 11, 2017, shows SMEs and Startups Minister nominee Park Seong-jin attending a parliamentary confirmation hearing at the National Assembly in Seoul. (Yonhap) This photo, taken Sept. 11, 2017, shows SMEs and Startups Minister nominee Park Seong-jin attending a parliamentary confirmation hearing at the National Assembly in Seoul. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr

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