Na Kyung-won, a veteran lawmaker and conservative, criticized President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday. Photo by Yonhap/EPA-EFE
SEOUL, March 12 (UPI) -- Tempers flared among South Korean politicians following remarks from an opposition party conservative who suggested President Moon Jae-in was acting as a "spokesman" for North Korea's Kim Jong Un.
Na Kyung-won, a veteran lawmaker and conservative, as well as one of the few women in South Korea's parliament, had said Moon was acting as if he was the chief spokesman for the North Korean dictator, Yonhap reported.
"I ask [President Moon] to conduct himself in a way so that the president of the Republic of Korea would not be embarrassingly called the chief spokesman of Kim Jong Un," Na said before the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Na, the floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, has previously expressed disapproval of Moon's policies. She has criticized the administration's decision to cancel joint exercises with the United States, and has called on top officials, including spy agency chief Suh Hoon and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa, to step down.
Lee In-young, a politician with the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, compared Na to a "Nazi," as other ruling party members called on Na to apologize for what is considered in South Korea to be "defamatory remarks."
"Selling President Moon as the senior spokesman for Kim Jong Un is worse than the abuse of peace-loving people by Nazis during World War II," Lee said, adding Na's comments were an affront to democracy.
On the Democratic Party's official Instagram account, politicians criticized Na, using slurs like "vulgar woman." Others called her by the portmanteau "Nabe," a blend of Na's name and that of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; conservatives are often accused in the South, sometimes without evidence, of being "pro-Japanese."
Lee Hae-chan, the ruling party leader, said Na had shown "contempt" for the head of state, Newsis reported Tuesday.
Referring to an anti-democratic law that was abolished in 1988, Lee said Na should be referred to the parliament's ethics committee.
The lèse-majesté law was created in 1975 under then-dictator and President Park Chung Hee.