South Korea’s former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl was criticized in a North Korean propaganda statement Monday. File Photo by Yonhap/EPA-EFE
May 17 (UPI) -- A North Korean propaganda service roasted a potential South Korean presidential candidate as a "fleeting political star," as Yoon Seok-youl leads in opinion polls ahead of an election in 2022.
Echo of Unification, a North Korean radio service that targets Korean listeners overseas, said Monday in statement that Yoon was a "shooting star" soon to vanish from the horizon.
The propaganda outlet compared him to former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who did not find enough support to run for president in 2017.
"Like Ban Ki-moon, who once became a presidential candidate and then tumbled like a rock, how do you know if you will shine only momentarily, then eventually disappear?"
Yoon's rise is "not a star moment," but rather a "shooting star moment," the North Korean radio service said. "It is a bad omen."
Yoon initially rose to prominence in South Korean politics after President Moon Jae-in appointed him prosecutor general. But clashes with the administration and former Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae led to Yoon's suspension.
Choo ordered that suspension for alleged misconduct, but Yoon returned to work after a court granted his motion for an injunction. Yoon resigned in March.
Choo also investigated Yoon's wife, Kim Keon-hee, after Kim was accused of accepting bribes and manipulating the price of Deutsch Motors stock. Deutsch Motors is a BMW affiliate in South Korea. Echo of Unification also berated Kim in its statement Monday.
Park Won-gon, a professor with the Ewha Womans University's Department of North Korea Studies, told local network MBN that North Korea prefers that the ruling Democratic Party remain in power.
Yoon, the "most promising presidential candidate among the opposition" conservatives is being framed as "ill-suited" for inter-Korean engagement policies, Park said.
"There is no card as easy as the current South Korean administration" for the North, Park said, according to the report.
Yoon said in recent interviews that he is critical of North Korean human rights violations and the situation in Myanmar, according to MBN.
Earlier this month, Yoon ranked ahead of rival Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung in a Realmeter poll, with a support rating of 44.5%. Lee ranked second at 36.2%.