(2nd LD) Ex-PPP leader declines luncheon meeting proposed by Yoon, citing health reasons

President Yoon Suk Yeol has proposed a luncheon meeting with former ruling People Power Party (PPP) leader Han Dong-hoon and party members who worked for him, but he declined to attend, citing health reasons, Han said Sunday.

The news came about 10 days after he stepped down as leader of the PPP’s emergency committee to take responsibility for the party’s resounding defeat in the April 10 parliamentary elections.

“I received a call from the presidential chief of staff Friday afternoon, asking if a luncheon would be possible on Monday, and I politely told him it would be difficult for the moment due to health reasons,” Han told Yonhap News Agency.

The presidential office also delivered the proposal via Rep. Yun Jae-ok, the PPP’s floor leader and the party’s acting chairman, but decided not to opt for the proposed luncheon in the absence of Han.

Yoon and Han had clashed over a number of politically sensitive issues in the run-up to the elections, including the controversial appointment of the resigned amba
ssador to Australia, Lee Jong-sup.

Earlier, Han said in a Facebook post Saturday night that the one thing politicians should never betray is the people, in his first message since his resignation following the crushing defeat in the general elections earlier this month.

The message came after Daegu Mayor Hong Joon-pyo, a heavyweight PPP politician, accused Han earlier Saturday of betraying President Yoon Suk Yeol in an apparent reference to tensions Han had with Yoon over first lady Kim Keon Hee’s acceptance of a luxury handbag and other controversial issues.

“I will never betray the people no matter what happens,” Han said in the message. “The only thing politicians should never betray is you, the people. Efforts to correct what is wrong are not betrayal, but courage.”

Addressing supporters, Han said the election defeat is “my loss, not your loss.”

“I owe you a debt. I am sorry,” he said.

Han said he firmly believes that challenges can be overcome when a “sophisticated and energetic leadership” meets t
he understanding and support of the people and that he will take time to study to become more sophisticated.

The remark was seen as an expression of his commitment to continue with politics but suggests that he may not run for party leader in a PPP national convention expected to take place in the coming months.

Source: Yonhap News Agency