South Korea’s main opposition leader, Lee Jun-seok, has proposed abolishing Seoul’s Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. File Photo by Yonhap/EPA-EFE
July 14 (UPI) -- North Korea's propaganda services issued a series of condemnations of new South Korean opposition leader Lee Jun-seok on Wednesday after he proposed abolishing Seoul's gender and unification ministries.
Ri Myong Jong, identified as an ethnic Korean sociologist in China, said in an article on propaganda site Meari that Lee's rise in politics and his alleged views on women's issues "reflect the backwardness of South Korean society."
"Lee Jun-seok and the [presidential] candidates of the People Power Party are treating the issue of discrimination against women as insignificant, and are even discussing the abolition of the [South's] Ministry of Gender Equality and Family," Ri said.
"The argument is reminiscent of neo-Nazi sophistry that 'the Holocaust is falsehood.'"
Last week. during a local radio interview, Lee had proposed dissolving the gender ministry, saying some institutions were meant to be "boldly thrown away when cleaning the house," according to JoongAng Daily.
Lee and his colleagues in the conservative PPP have cited the ministry's inaction on sexual assault cases, including those involving former Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, who died last year, and former Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don. Both politicians were affiliated with the ruling Democratic Party.
In the Meari article Ri said, "misogyny and anti-feminism were being publicly advocated" in the South.
The rise of Lee as main opposition leader is a "shameful" development for the South where "all kinds of social conflicts and contradictions are exploited as weapons by politicians," the article in Meari stated.
A separate statement published on the site of North Korean propaganda service Uriminzokkiri claimed that Lee was a "ruthless" supporter of "old-fashioned politics."
Lee, who graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in economics and computer science in 2007, has been credited with bringing his party greater support from young South Korean men in their 20s and 30s.
Lee also has proposed abolishing the unification ministry, citing lack of government action on the North Korean demolition of the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong and the death of a South Korean fisheries ministry officer in the North.
North Korean propaganda did not address Lee's comments regarding the unification ministry Wednesday.