PPP ELDERS ON ELECTION DEFEAT

PPP ELDERS ON ELECTION DEFEAT

[Anchor Lead]
Senior politicians from the People Power Party yesterday voiced harsh criticisms at a meeting with party leadership, attributing the devastating electoral defeat to the president’s lack of communication and the party’s incompetence. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has escalated its offensive by filing a complaint against President Yoon Suk Yeol and former PPP interim leader Han Dong-hoon for alleged abuse of authority concerning the prosecution’s special activity expenses.

[Pkg]
The leadership and elders of the People Power Party gathered to discuss how to overcome the current crisis facing the party. Former National Assembly Speaker and current chairman of the party’s standing advisory body Chung Ui-hwa delivered tough criticism. He pointed to President Yoon Suk Yeol’s communication shortcomings and the party’s incompetence as the main culprits of the party’s crushing defeat in last week’s general elections.

[Soundbite]
Chung Ui-hwa (Chair, PPP standing advisory body): Untimely decision-making and the president’s dogmatic stance in the conflict with medical sector could’ve unfavorably affected voter sentiment.

He stressed that the president needs to visibly change and the party must become competent, able to deliver direct and frank advice to the president when necessary. In a following closed-door meeting, it is also said that there was a great deal of calls for the president to improve his communication. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials against President Yoon Suk Yeol and the ruling party’s former interim leader Han Dong-hoon regarding the prosecution’s special activity expenses. The main opposition party claimed that Yoon had created a fund of 7.8 billion won or over 5.6 million U.S. dollars to give excessive amounts of special activity allowance to prosecutors when he was serving as prosecutor general. The DP also insisted that when he was justice minister, Han had allowed the misuse and abuse of special activity allowance by approving unidentified receipts submitted by the prosecution.

[Soundbite]
Kim Seung-won (Chair, Judiciary Committee, DP): Unprecedentedly, then Prosecutor-General Yoon gave out hundreds of millions of won to prosecutors’ offices in the last three months of his term.

The ruling party refuted the DP’s claims, saying that the special activity expenses in question had been executed during the former Moon Jae-in administration. While keeping up the momentum of its landslide victory in the general elections, the DP will hold an election on May 3rd to pick a new floor leader who will lead the largest party in parliament with 175 seats.

DOCTORS URGE YOON’S RESOLUTION

[Anchor Lead]
We turn to the ongoing dispute regarding trainee doctors walking out in protest of the government’s decision to increase medical school admission quotas. The medical community has reiterated its call for the President to decisively resolve the conflict arising from the proposed increase in medical school admissions. They also stated that they would participate in discussions proposed by the government’s ‘Special Committee on Medical Reform’ once the increase is halted.

[Pkg]
The medical community has repeated its call for President Yoon Suk Yeol to make a decision. They expressed regret over Yoon’s remark during his post-election speech saying that medical reform will continue, and stressed the president is the one who can resolve the current crisis caused by the government plan to increase the medical school admissions quota.

[Soundbite]
Kim Sung-geun (Korean Medical Association’s emergency committee): The president is the one who can resolve the situation. We ask him to stop the quota hike, start fresh discussions through an objective organization.

The Korean Medical Association’s emergency committee also expressed concern that if trainee doctors and medical students fail to return to their posts, the output of doctors including some 28-hundred specialists will suffer setbacks from next year. They said if the government suspends the quota hike process and shifts to a proactive stance, the medical community will also naturally come forward to the dialogue table. Medical professors have also sent letters to university deans urging them to stop reckless quota expansions while asking the government to listen to the opinions of experts. However the government maintains the stance that discussions will be held through a special committee on medical reform. One presidential official said the setup of the committee is ongoing and the first meeting could be held sometime next week. The official said the KMA and trainee doctors are requested to take part in the committee but its operation will proceed with or without them. Meanwhile, a trainee doctor representative, attending an event of the World Medical Association, criticized the quota hike plan and insisted the Korean government was violating the basic rights of junior doctors such as blocking their resignations.

“1,700 PEOPLE OF FAITH MASSACRED”

[Anchor Lead]
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has for the first time, officially acknowledged the mass killing of religious figures by the North Korean military during the Korean War. The commission has formally recognized the slaughter of 104 Christians in the Jeollabuk-do regsion. The commission estimates that the nationwide toll of religious victims could reach approximately 1,700.

[Pkg]
Deokam Church in Gochang-gun County, Jeollabukdo Province. During the height of the Korean War in October, 1950. A preacher at this church, Oh Byeong-gil, hid inside an underground tunnel not to get caught by North Korean troops.

[Soundbite]
Oh Bong-hwan (Family of late Oh Byeong-gil): Oh took shelter in a dugout at his in-law’s place. Inside, he had a South Korean flag and Bible and constantly prayed.

However, the hideout was soon discovered and Oh and his son were killed by the
communists. Pillaging and massacres continued on and at this church alone, 20 people lost their lives.

[Soundbite]
Oh Bong-hwan (Family of late Oh Byeong-gil): The wife was taken away for calling out that the troops cannot take away the church bell used in service. They had a 7-year-old son.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has recognized 104 Christians who died in such manner in the Jeollabukdo region as victims of the North Korean military during the Korean War. Massacres occurred at churches in eight provincial areas including Gunsan, Gimje and Jeongeup and many of the victims were ordinary congregation members. The list includes Korea’s first-ever attorney Hong Jae-gi as well as lawmakers Baek Hyung-nam and Yoon Seok-goo. This is the first time that killings of religious people during the Korean War have been formally recognized.

[Soundbite]
Park Hyun-soo (Jeonju Univ. Museum (took part in excavation)): People branded as reactionary forces were massacred in underground dugouts. No remains have been found.

North Korean troops at the time slayed right-leaning religious figures viewing them as pro-American and rebellious. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission believes some 17-hundred people of faith lost their lives during that time. Starting with the latest recognition, the panel will continue to share findings of its investigation into the wartime death of religious figures.

S.KOREA PROVIDES RICE AID ABROAD

[Anchor Lead]
South Korea has begun its international rice aid this year, with the first shipment of 100,000 tons departing from Gunsan Port in Jeollabuk-do Province yesterday. Six years since initiating these efforts, the scale of aid has now doubled. Once a recipient of international aid, South Korea has transformed into a key aid provider.

[Pkg]
[Soundbite]
(Korea News (1959)): Fifty sacks of rice and 300 bags of cornmeal were distributed evenly.

South Korea was once the poorest country in the world, devastated by the Korean War. Koreans were barely surviving on the food aids from overseas. Now some 60 years later… Trucks loaded with bags of rice arrive at Gunsan Port, the nation’s largest grain-exporting gateway. A 2,000-ton cargo vessel will head to Bangladesh on May 3rd with 15,000 tons of rice. The food aid is for Rohingya refugees fleeing from Myanmar.

[Soundbite]
Delwar Hossain (Bangladeshi Ambassador to South Korea)

Korea is providing 100,000 tons of rice in international aid this year. The amount doubled in six years since Korea first started giving rice aid in 2018. The number of countries receiving the rice increased from five to eleven. Korea also plans to organize a rice seed distribution project in countries with poor rice production.

[Soundbite]
Song Mi-ryung (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs): Together with the food aid, we plan to expand the K-Rice belt project with 7 countries, including Kenya and Uganda.

Korea needed food aids from abroad as the country underwent Japan’s colonial occupation and the Korean War. Now the nation has become a key aid provider, solidifying its place in the international community.

K-FARMING METHODS TAUGHT ABROAD

[Anchor Lead]
South Korea’s commitment extends beyond food aid; the nation is successfully transferring appropriate technologies in regions like Africa and Latin America, facilitating local technological adoption.

[Pkg]
A cultivator plows the black soil in the African nation of Ghana, Ghanaian farmers plant rice seedlings by hand along the strings. This is how Korea used to farm rice in the 1970s. This is Isriz, a rice variety that can yield up to four times the average rice output of Africa. Korea’s Tongil rice variety was modified to fit the African climate.

[Soundbite]
Song Yeong-seo (Nat’l Institute of Crop Science): A rice variety in S.Korea cannot withstand the hot environment of Africa.

Six African nations succeeded in harvesting 2,300 tons of Isriz rice last year. Korea hopes to solve the food crisis for 30 million people in Africa in three years time by providing these rice seeds to African farmers.

[Soundbite]
Yu Eun-ha (Rural Development Administration): When a technology is shared, a country’s technological capacity grows, thereby empowering the country to overcome poverty and end starvation.

A Korean agricultural team is also teaching potato farming techniques in the Dominican Republic in Central America. The country’s potato yield rose nearly 40% since the Rural Development Administration’s Kopia Center opened and began teaching farming techniques seven years ago. The Korean farming experts also taught locals how to produce disease-resistant seed potatoes so that the Dominican Republic’s seed potato self-sufficiency rate could be boosted.

[Soundbite]
Jose Raphael (Dominican Institute of Agricultural and Forestry Research): We are now able to produce more potatoes, thanks to South Korea’s seed potato production technique.

Korea shares its agricultural technologies with some twenty countries in Africa, Central and South America, and other parts of Asia, gained through the country’s own experience of overcoming famine and driving economic growth.

30,000 NEW HOUSES IN PYONGYANG

[Anchor Lead]
North Korea has unveiled a new 10,000-unit housing complex in Pyongyang, with Chairman Kim Jong-un attending the completion ceremony. This development is part of the “North Korean-style New Town” plan initiated in 2021 to build 10,000 homes annually in the capital. Amid economic challenges, critics argue that the project primarily serves to bolster the achievements of the privileged elite.

[Pkg]
With crowds of North Koreans gathering, a ceremony was held to mark the completion of Rimheung Street, the second-stage project of Hwasong District. In a luxurious Russian-made car gifted by President Vladimir Putin, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived at the venue and cut the ceremonial ribbon himself.

[Soundbite]
(N. Korean Central TV (April 17) ): Leader Kim Jong-un has great expectations, trust in transforming Pyongyang into an advanced city befitting of the status as a global power.

In 2021, North Korea unveiled plans to build 10,000 houses in Pyongyang annually for five years. It completed Songhwa Street and the first stage of Hwasong District the following year. With an additional 10,000 houses completed this year, the North has built a total of 30,000 new houses. Pyongyang had a population of some 3.1 million in 2021. Its population increased by 200,000 in nine years. During the same period, only some 30,000 houses were supplied, indicating that North Korea is facing a serious housing shortage. It appears that the North Korean government is actively promoting new town projects, as it can easily produce results in construction by mobilizing workers to dodge international sanctions. The free housing supply can also be used as an effective propaganda tool.

[Soundbite]
Oh Gyeong-seob (Korea Institute for Nat’l Unification): Housing construction is an important and effective project that can produce tangible results for the privileged… living in Pyongyang or Kim Jong-un’s loyal supporters.

However, critics say the newly-built houses are not enough to ease public discontent and improve the housing environment substantially, as in most cases, they don’t have elevators in addition to power and water shortages.

SUWOLBONG CLIFF COLLAPSES AGAIN

[Anchor Lead]
Suwolbong Peak, located in Jejudo Island, is designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark, and is renowned as a pilgrimage site for global volcanic research and attracts many visitors with its stunning scenery. Unfortunately, part of the coastal cliffs of Suwolbong has collapsed. There were no casualties, but the concern lies in the fact that this is not the first time this has happened.

[Pkg]
The seaside cliff of Suwolbong Peak is designated as Korea’s natural monument and a UNESCO global geopark. The strata was made when volcanic ashes settled in layers. But a portion of the scenic cliff has collapsed. A surface area of 6.5 meters in both length and height was damaged.

[Soundbite]
Kang Yeong-hwan (Local resident): Many tourists were seen recently. Safety measures like taller and stronger fences are needed.

A vast amount of soil and rocks covered the walking trail. It could have easily led to human casualties. The Jeju World Natural Heritage Headquarters suspect heavy rain storms earlier in the year are to blame for the damage. The rainy days in Jeju last winter numbered the most since 1973, when the nation began keeping climate records.

[Soundbite]
Kim Tae-yoon (Jeju World Natural Heritage HQ): Heavy rain in January and February boosted the moisture content, which flowed in the ground to cause the damage.

There have been more than ten cave-ins of various scale at Suwolbong Peak since 2019. KBS had captured on camera the collapse of the cliff last summer…as well as during the 4.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Jeju Island three years ago. The Jeju World Natural Heritage Headquarters, which has been monitoring the cliff collapse with a drone for two years, has restricted a portion of Suwolbong Peak and is working on safety measures.