Edition: English | 中文简体 | 中文繁体 Монгол
Homepage > World

Trial on Park Geun-hye begins as S.Korean political scene sees shakeup

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨Xinhua

01-04-2017 19:21 BJT

BEIJING, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- The first trial on a parliamentary motion to impeach South Korean President Park Geun-hye ended just in nine minutes on Tuesday without Park's attendance.

The trial's outcome is believed to not only determine Park's fate as the country's leader, but also have a profound impact on the political arena of South Korea, which faces a major reshuffle.


The first hearing, which kicked off at 2 p.m. local time (0500 GMT), was wrapped up at 2:09 p.m. as Park refused to appear in the Constitutional Court, according to local media reports.

The second date for pleading was set on Thursday and the third was scheduled for next Tuesday.

Considering that Park has refuted all charges against her, a stiff court battle is expected to come up. Park's legal team has said she will not attend any of the remaining pleading sessions.

Four former presidential secretaries will appear as witnesses on Thursday, while two senior presidential advisors as well as Choi Soon-sil, Park's longtime confidante at the center of the influence-peddling scandal, will be summoned in next week's third trial.

Park was impeached in the unicameral assembly on Dec. 9. The court has up to 180 days to deliberate, but the judges are widely forecast to rule as early as late February.


Also on Tuesday, Western High Court of Denmark rejected an appeal made by Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of Choi Soon-sil, against a local court's decision to keep her in custody.

Western High Court decided that the 20-year-old should remain in custody for four weeks after her arrest by Danish police on Sunday, a prosecutor's office said in a statement. She is wanted by the South Korean police for alleged economic crimes related to her mother.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said that it is still awaiting the formal extradition request from the South Korean authorities.


Surprisingly, Park arranged a meeting with local journalists on Sunday, the first day of 2017, denying all allegations of her involvement in the scandal, which was viewed as a strategy to turn public opinion in her favor.

The presidential Blue House told media outlets that Park plans to have such press meetings at an appropriate time, heralding her counterattack through the press as well as via her counsels on the court.

Some domestic newspapers slammed the meeting by the suspended president, who is only allowed to defend herself in the court as an individual.

Rep. Kwon Seong-dong, who leads the assembly's judiciary committee, also rapped Park for the press meeting, urging the impeached chief executive to appear in court to prove her innocence.

Yonhap News Agency said in a report that Park may use the media to argue for her again in the future, which means she will not give up a last chance to turn the tide.


A poll published in South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo showed that 78.1 percent of interviewee hoped that the trial will end with Park's impeachment.

Moreover, the Park scandal for the first time in nearly three decades triggered a major division of the country's conservative bloc.

A group of 29 anti-President Park faction lawmakers last month declared a formal defection from the ruling Saenuri Party to launch a new party tentatively named the "New Conservative Party of Reformists" set for Jan. 24.

It was the first division in the conservative camp since the four-party system emerged in the country's dynamic party system in 1988. The minor opposition People's Party, composed mostly of former members of the main opposition Minjoo Party, was launched earlier this year.

The political arena, led by two parties from both liberal and conservative camps, adds uncertainty to the country's next presidential election, which is expected to be held earlier than scheduled.

The conservative Chosun Ilbo newspaper survey on Monday showed that Moon Jae-in, former chairman of the main opposition Minjoo Party, took first place under all scenarios, beating former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who is seen as the most powerful presidential candidate in the conservative camp.

The career diplomat has not officially declared his run for the presidency. But he has said that he preferred to establish bipartisan cooperation and a political grand coalition, indicating his willingness to join a third playing field.

Follow us on

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Instagram

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Wechat