Ex-President Park attends Yoon’s inauguration

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Head of the Presidential Inauguration Preparatory Committee Park Joo-sun delivers President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s invitation to the May 10 inauguration ceremony to former President Park Geun-hye (left) on Tuesday at her home in Daegu in this photo provided by the committee. [YONHAP]

Former President Park Geun-hye will attend the inauguration of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol on May 10.

The inauguration preparatory committee said Wednesday that its head, Park Joo-sun, visited the former president at her home in Daegu the day before and delivered a handwritten letter from Yoon and an invitation to the inauguration. Yoo Yeong-ha, a lawyer and assistant to former President Park, attended the 20-minute meeting.

“I think I should congratulate the new government on its establishment,” the former president reportedly said.

“While traveling for more than three hours is painful in my current state of health, I will make sure I can handle it through exercise and rehabilitation,” Park added, according to the committee.

Accordingly, incumbent President Moon Jae-in and former President Park are expected to meet at the inauguration.

Park was impeached in December 2016 and removed from office in March 2017 over an influence peddling scandal involving her confidante Choi Soon-sil, after which Moon was elected. She was found guilty of corruption and abuse of power and sentenced to a total of 22 years in prison.

Park received a special pardon from Moon last December due to her deteriorating health and was officially discharged on New Year’s Eve, although she remained hospitalized in Seoul. She was discharged from hospital at the end of last month.

Moon recently said he would attend the inauguration.

At a final press conference at the Nokjiwon Presidential Garden in the Blue House in central Seoul on Monday, Moon said he planned to leave the Blue House at the end of the May 9 workday, spend the night elsewhere, to attend Yoon’s inauguration the next day and head to his newly built retirement home in Pyeongsan Village in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang, immediately afterwards.

The inauguration preparation committee is also discussing ways to invite the wives of former presidents and other relatives to the ceremony. Kim Yoon-ok, wife of former President Lee Myung-bak is being considered for an invitation. Lee is not invited because he is in prison for embezzlement and corruption.

Lawyer Roh Jae-hun, son of the late President Roh Tae-woo and member of the National Unity Committee of the Presidential Transition Team, and Kim In-kyu, grandson of the late President Kim Young- sat, could also be invited. Kim In-kyu is a staff member of the transition team.

The preparatory committee plans to announce the invitations to relatives of former presidents next week.

Regarding the invitation given to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the head of the preparatory committee Park Joo-sun said at a press conference on Wednesday that they “have not yet received a response”.

Yoon Suk-yeol’s special delegation met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday and handed him a personal letter from Korea’s president-elect.

BY HA SU-YOUNG, SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun1@joongang.co.kr]

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