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Park grilled over corruption allegations

By Xinhua-Afp | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-05 07:16

Main opposition party leader eyes presidential race after nomination

SEOUL - Prosecutors of the Republic of Korea on Tuesday grilled former president Park Geun-hye, who has been taken into custody over corruption allegations. Park has been held at a detention center since March 31, when a court issued an arrest warrant for her.

She was removed from office in a ruling on March 10 by the constitutional court to uphold the impeachment bill.

The special investigation headquarters of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, tasked with the probe into the corruption scandal embroiling Park, said that the questioning kicked off at 10 am.

Prosecutors visited the detention center, not summoning Park. Park was summoned on March 21 for questioning over multiple charges including bribery, abuse of power and coercion.

Park grilled over corruption allegations

Park is accused of conspiring with her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil, who is also in custody and on trial, to receive tens of millions of dollars in bribes from Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong, the heir of the country's biggest family-controlled conglomerate.

Prosecutors already identified Park and Choi as criminal accomplices. A total of 13 charges were levied at Park.

Choi is charged with extorting tens of millions of dollars from scores of business conglomerates to establish two nonprofit foundations she used for personal gains.

Meanwhile, the man tipped to become the country's next president was nominated on Monday as candidate of the main opposition party, and promised "justice" in the nation.

Moon Jae-in, the left-leaning former chief of staff to president Roh Moo-hyun, became the Democratic Party's standard-bearer for the poll on May 9.

Moon, known for his softer stance on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, has suggested Seoul should engage with Pyongyang.

His conservative critics say he could also loosen the country's long-standing alliance with the United States, which bases 28,500 troops in the country.

The 64-year-old former lawyer promised to "start a new history with the Korean people" after securing a total of 57 percent of the votes in nationwide primaries for his party.

"This presidential election is not a showdown between conservatives and liberals but a choice between justice and injustice," Moon said in his acceptance speech.

Moon was narrowly beaten in the 2012 presidential election by Park and his party has been out of power for 10 years.

But this election looks set to give him a strong chance, with opinion polls suggesting he has a commanding lead.

A Realmeter survey published Monday put him on 34.9 percent, with his nearest rival, former software tycoon Ahn Cheol-soo, trailing far behind at 18.7 percent.

In December, Moon said that if elected, he was willing to visit Pyongyang ahead of the US, the South's security guarantor.

He also vowed to recognize Pyongyang's top leader as his dialogue partner.

In an interview with The New York Times, Moon called the alliance with Washington "a pillar of our diplomacy" but said Seoul should learn to "say 'No' to the Americans".

A US missile defense system is being deployed to the ROK, infuriating Asian neighbors.

Moon has been ambivalent about the issue, saying it needed to be carefully handled as it would bring the ROK "both gains and losses".

(China Daily 04/05/2017 page11)

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