SEOUL, March 22 (UPI) -- South Korea's main opposition conservative leader said Friday President Moon Jae-in's absence at a memorial for fallen South Korean sailors is "regrettable."
Hwang Kyo-ahn, a former justice minister under ex-President Park Geun-hye, and leader of the Liberty Korea Party, remembered the 46 crewmembers of the South Korean warship Cheonan at a national cemetery in the city of Daejeon on Friday.
The memorial day was established in 2016 under Park, currently in prison following corruption charges.
On his Facebook page, Hwang said the days when North Korea torpedoed the Cheonan in March 2010, bombarded South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010, and confronted South Korean patrol boats in 2002, are being remembered on Friday. The South Koreans who defended and died during the incidents should be memorialized, Hwang said.
Hwang also criticized Moon in his message.
"Once again President Moon Jae-in did not take part in the memorial," Hwang wrote. "How disappointed the victims' families must have been after waiting for the president, I [too] found it truly regrettable and sad."
Since Hwang was elected to the leadership position of his party on Feb. 27, conservatives have become more vocal in their criticism of Moon's North Korea policy.
Last week, party member Na Kyung-won angered ruling party politicians, after suggesting Moon was acting as a "spokesman" for Kim Jong Un.
On Friday Na continued her attacks on the Moon administration.
According to Newsis, Na said her party has decided to submit a proposal to have Defense Minister Chung Kyung-doo dismissed for recent remarks.
On Wednesday, Chung had describes the naval incidents, including the torpedoing of the Cheonan, as "unfortunate clashes" at sea.
Na said Chung's statement falls short of holding North Korea accountable for a deliberate attack, and is therefore unacceptable.
The lawmaker said the proposal would be submitted Friday.