Ex-SMEs minister stresses importance of ‘cooperative politics’

Former SMEs and Startups Minister Park Young-sun, a well-known opposition politician, stressed the importance of "cooperative politics" Thursday after she became a target of speculation following reports that she was being considered a candidate for prime minister. Park, who served as minister under the preceding Moon Jae-in administration, has been at the center of attention since some reports said Wednesday that she is a leading prime minister candidate, while Yang Jung-chul, a close aide to Moon, was being considered for presidential chief of staff. The news caught many in the political community off guard because both Park, a former four-term lawmaker, and Yang are high-profile opposition figures unlikely to work in the conservative administration of President Yoon Suk Yeol. Yoon's office denied the reports, but some aides still said it is true that both were being considered as candidates in a reorganization that Yoon plans to carry out in the wake of the ruling People Power Party's crushing defeat in last week's general elections. "I think cooperative politics are crucial because now is a critical moment for the future of the Republic of Korea," Park said in a Facebook post, referring to South Korea by its official name. "But now our society looks like two trains running head-on into each other." It was not clear what she meant, but some observers viewed it as a roundabout way of declining a potential position in the rival bloc's Cabinet, considering the country's deepening political divide, even though she understands the need for cooperation. "It's a de facto rejection," an official close to Park said. "Unless President Yoon switches his attitude in a forward-looking manner and circumstances are created to start cooperative politics, there is nothing she could do by taking the seat." Park is currently visiting Osaka, Japan, to attend an event hosted by a city museum. She was set to stay in the United States until June to finish her semester at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she is a senior resear cher, but is expected to return sometime this week. Source: Yonhap News Agency