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The reason why Lee Jae-yong’s invitation to the Blue House should not be taken lightly


President Moon Jae-in called Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, who is under “employment restrictions”, to the Blue House to create jobs for young people. There are criticisms that Vice Chairman Lee was given an indulgence in the bribery case of state government nongdan, but there are few media that pointed out this. Rather, the majority of the media seemed to put pressure on the government by digesting the luncheon as a joke or citing the possibility of a pardon of Vice Chairman Lee.

On the 27th, President Moon invited representatives of large companies including Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK, LG, Posco and KT to have a 90-minute luncheon meeting. Representatives of companies participating in the ‘Youth Hope On’ project to support job creation for young people were invited, and what drew the most attention was the invitation of Vice Chairman Lee, who was released on parole four months ago and is still under ’employment restrictions’.

According to reports, at this meeting, President Moon praised Samsung, saying, “Samsung has been producing Samsung people with the best abilities, following the founder’s will of ‘Talent First’.” Vice Chairman Lee replied, “I will do my best to become a strength to the national economy and make our society warmer.”

▲ 28th Hankyoreh page 1

Vice Chairman Lee was sentenced to two years and six months in prison on charges of bribery and embezzlement at the repatriation trial for the destruction of the state government nongdan in January, but was paroled in August. Labor and social groups opposed the parole, arguing that there is a possibility of reoffending because the transfer of management rights has not been completed, that it may affect the trial, such as the illegal merger of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries, and propofol administration.

Even while on parole, the restriction on employment for five years remains the same. In order for Vice Chairman Lee to conduct business activities, a separate approval from the Minister of Justice is required. However, Vice Chairman Lee continues his official business activities as an unpaid, unregistered director. In this situation, a controversy arose that President Moon met with Vice Chairman Lee in person to encourage job creation, effectively approving business activities and nullifying employment restrictions.

Among the major daily newspapers and broadcasters that delivered the news of the meeting, few places pointed out the controversial topic together. The media pointed out without exception that it was ‘the first meeting with President Moon since Vice Chairman Lee was released on parole after being imprisoned for the state affairs nongdan case’, but many rather mentioned the possibility of Vice Chairman Lee’s pardon or expressions of making his business activities a reality. wrote. He also didn’t forget the joke.

▲ On the 28th, the JoongAng Ilbo, page 14
▲ On the 28th, the JoongAng Ilbo, page 14

On the 28th, the JoongAng Ilbo posted a photo of Vice Chairman Lee reaching out for the mask of SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won on page 14 and explained, “I am fixing Chairman Choi’s crossed mask string.” In the related article, he said, “There was an observation that there would be a reference to (pardon), but the Blue House drew a line saying ‘not at all'”. The Hankook Ilbo also placed the same picture on the front page and explained, “(Vice President Lee) is reaching out to fix the mask strap.”

▲ Front page of Hankook Ilbo on the 28th
▲ Front page of Hankook Ilbo on the 28th

Rather, the Chosun Ilbo published a column of reporters criticizing President Moon on the grounds that it was not a ‘complete amnesty’. In a desk column on the 29th, the newspaper said, “The principle that President Moon is particularly hard on is that he does not pardon businessmen. (Omitted) I would rather not call the Blue House,” he wrote.

▲ On the 29th, Chosun Ilbo reporter column
▲ On the 29th, Chosun Ilbo reporter column

Among the daily newspapers, the Hankyoreh was the only newspaper to publish an article ‘President Moon met with ’employment restriction’ Lee Jae-yong and asked to create jobs. The Hankyoreh said, “Through the (Youth Hope On) project, Vice Chairman Lee was making official plans for the country, including meeting with Prime Minister Kim Bu-gyeom in September.” did. Among online media, No Cut News and Pressian published critical articles.

Among the broadcasters, SBS and MBC, Channel A and MBN did not contain content pointing out the fact that Vice Chairman Lee was restricted from employment in related reports. TV Chosun reported, “The business community has been constantly requesting an amnesty for Vice Chairman Lee, and he was not included in the list of ‘New Year’s Special Amnesty’ announced on the 24th.” KBS and YTN shared the news with the criticism of the Justice Party presidential candidate Shim Sang-jung.

Candidate Sang-Jeong Shim said, “The official invitation of Mr. Jae-Yong Lee to a meeting with the heads of large corporations is no different from the president taking the initiative to authorize the nullification of employment restrictions. It’s like you did,” he criticized.

▲ 28th Hankyoreh page 6
▲ 28th Hankyoreh page 6

Park Soo-hyeon, senior presidential secretary for public communication at the Blue House, said, “This event was prepared to express gratitude to companies that create jobs for youth and to give hope to (young people), not whether there is a job restriction. . I don’t think it’s something to do while thinking about it,” he said.

On the other hand, Han Sang-jin, spokesman for the Korean Federation of Trade Unions, pointed out that the meeting between President Moon and Vice Chairman Lee ” clearly shows where the Moon Jae-in government has aimed and carried out state affairs.” A spokesperson said, “Even during the Candlelight Uprising five years ago, the Democratic Party was insisting on ‘orderly resignation’ and it came to the fore when the spirit of the uprising was full.” It is helping Vice Chairman Lee on parole and returning to the business world as he is unable to escape from the pursuit of profits by capital, such as the abolition of income-led growth and the abolition of income-led growth.”

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