What They Said is a regular series on the quotes Korea is talking about.
Recently, there was some disagreement over whether or not BTS had been paid for their role as special envoys when they accompanied President Moon Jae-in to New York. A previous article in this column included a Facebook post from Tak Hyun Min, the Cheong Wa Dae protocol secretary, saying that BTS had already been paid for their services.
On October 14, during the annual inspection of the Korean Culture and Information Service, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, assemblyman Kim Seungsu of the People Power Party asked Park Jung-Youl, the director of the Korean Culture and Information Service, whether BTS had been paid. Park answered that the payment had not yet been processed. Kim then asked:
On September 30, a Cheong Wa Dae official clearly said that the payment has been processed, and secretary Tak Hyun Min also said via social media and again on a show on October 1 that the payment has been completed. Did the Cheong Wa Dae and secretary Tak then lie to the people knowing [that BTS has not been paid] or did they lie unknowingly because they had received a false report about the payment?
— Kim Seungsu, member of the National Assembly, People Power Party, October 14, 2021.
Cheong Wa Dae’s protocol secretary, Tak Hyun Min, once again took to Facebook to explain:
I don’t know why I have to explain this, but since people keep on making a problem out of it, I’ve directly confirmed the information myself to let people know.
Currently, the “decision to pay” [BTS] has been completed.
I realize that if you don’t have experience with government budget and execution, you may not be aware of the administrative process, so I will explain as kindly as possible.
PAYMENT AND DEPOSIT
The related contract was already completed prior to the BTS-related event and, after the event was over, the government administrative procedure of the “decision to pay” was done. However, the completion report prepared by BTS’s agency Hive was submitted on October 13. Given that the government procedure requires a “request for payment [invoice]” from Hive in order to deposit the payment, once Hive requests payment, it will be deposited within three days.
* Even if the “decision to pay” has been procedurally completed, the payment can be deposited only when the recipient requests the payment. Please do not mislead the public by saying we lied, when the issue is about trivial matters of procedure and terminology.
— Tak Hyun Min, Cheong Wa Dae protocol secretary, October 14, 2021.
South Korea’s Squid Game has been the talk of the world ever since its release on Netflix on September 17, 2021. The hit TV series was also mentioned at the parliamentary inspection of the Science, ICT, Future Planning, Broadcasting and Communications Committee held on October 12.
Cho Jeong-sik, a member of the National Assembly for the Democratic Party of Korea, asked Yang Sung-dong, the president of the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), whether he watched Squid Game. When Yang answered no, Cho remarked:
In recent years, the status of popular culture in the Republic of Korea has risen significantly worldwide.
I think KBS should also take a leading role in this…
— Cho Jeong-sik, member of the National Assembly, Democratic Party of Korea, October 12, 2021.
Park Sungjoong, a member of the National Assembly for the People Power Party, also asked Yang if he’d seen Squid Game, and remarked:
A Korean production company produced it, but Netflix took the money.
Why can’t KBS produce content like Squid Game?
— Park Sungjoong, member of the National Assembly, People Power Party, October 12, 2021.
It seems that Korean politicians have forgotten that KBS is a national broadcasting company with a much smaller budget than Netflix, a private company that has invested a whopping $500 million in original movies and TV shows in South Korea in 2021 alone.
Lee Nak-yon, former prime minister and Democratic Party presidential candidate, who lost to Lee Jae-myung in the presidential primaries, conceded defeat on October 13:
Although the issue of how to handle the votes for the presidential candidates who resigned remains a task, I respect the committee’s decision on it. I accept the results of the presidential primaries.
Congratulations to Candidate Lee Jae-myung on winning the primaries. I believe that Candidate Lee will do his best for the unity of the party and for victory in the presidential election. I would like to express my gratitude to the other candidates, Choo Mi-ae, Park Yong-jin, Kim Doo-kwan, Chung Sye-kyun, Lee Kwang-jae, Choi Moon-soon, and Yang Seung-jo, who competed together in good faith.
I will do my best for the victory of the ruling party. I will consider what I can do, and add the little strength that I have, to help overcome the difficulties the Democratic Party is facing and recreate the government by gaining the people’s trust.
I am very thankful and sorry to all those who have helped and supported me despite my shortcomings. I will be paying back all of that gratitude and regret until the day I die, but I don’t know if I can. I will cherish your love for the rest of my life. …
— Lee Nak-yon, Democratic Party presidential candidate, October 13, 2021.
Hwang Kyo-ahn, former prime minister and People Power Party presidential candidate, however, applied for an injunction to suspend the People Power Party’s primaries on the grounds of “vote rate manipulation” on October 14, 2021.
On October 18, 2021, Lee Jun-seok, the leader of the People Power Party, warned Hwang at the party’s Supreme Council Meeting.
And today, in particular, I would like to give a firm warning to those who raise various issues from a conspiracy theorist perspective regarding the results of our party’s second primary.
The party’s elections are conducted through a very fair management process by the Election Commission led by former Prime Minister Chung Hong-won, who served as prime minister in our party’s government. There are people who are colluding with some YouTubers about election fraud, and so far I have only been watching it unfold. However, now that our party’s Supreme Council Member Kim Jae-won from the Fair Election Promotion Committee has investigated and reported on the various suspicions that they have been raised, I declare that if you continue to engage in such actions that are harmful to the party for your own benefit, we will take decisive action.
Therefore, from today onward, anyone who raises excessive suspicions or objections to the party’s election management procedures will be referred to the Ethics Committee, and we will take thorough and stern measures against them.
— Lee Jun-seok, leader of the People Power Party, October 18, 2021.