Yoon once again vetoes special counsel probe regarding death of Marine

Posted on : 2024-07-10 17:24 KST Modified on : 2024-07-10 17:24 KST
Opposition parties said the veto would mark “the beginning of his administration’s downfall”
President Yoon Suk-yeol and first lady Kim Keon-hee arrive in Hawaii’s Hickam Air Force Base on July 8, 2024, (local time) ahead of Yoon’s attendance at the NATO summit in Washington. (Yonhap)
President Yoon Suk-yeol and first lady Kim Keon-hee arrive in Hawaii’s Hickam Air Force Base on July 8, 2024, (local time) ahead of Yoon’s attendance at the NATO summit in Washington. (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk-yeol on Tuesday vetoed an act to appoint an independent special counsel to investigate alleged obstruction of an investigation into and the cover-up of the death of a Marine in the line of duty. This was the 15th bill vetoed by Yoon and, as the first bill passed by the 22nd National Assembly, signaled a renewed veto standoff.

Yoon exercised his veto that afternoon from Honolulu, Hawaii, by electronically authorizing a motion requesting parliamentary reconsideration that had been approved at a morning Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo. It is rare for a veto to be exercised while abroad. 

“Given the substantial truth and accountability identified by the police investigation, the results of which were announced yesterday, the act to appoint a special counsel to investigate the death of the marine in the line of duty, which the opposition party unilaterally pushed forward, should be withdrawn,” the presidential office said regarding Yoon’s veto. 

The act to appoint a special counsel was passed during a plenary session of the 22nd National Assembly, a move led by opposition parties, just 37 days after it was initially vetoed by Yoon during the 21st National Assembly. Yoon exercised his veto five days after the bill passed the National Assembly and four days after it was transferred to the government. 

As the veto deadline was July 20, the presidential office had considered exercising the veto after Yoon’s return from the United States. However, it appears that the timing was moved up after the Gyeongbuk Provincial Police Agency decided the previous day not to seek charges against Lim Seong-geun, the former commander of the 1st Marine Division to which the deceased Marine belonged at the time of his death.

Opposition parties strongly opposed the veto. Yoon Jong-kun, a spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Korea, stated, “President Yoon has squandered his last chance to regain the people’s trust. This will mark the beginning of his administration’s downfall.” 

The Rebuilding Korea Party, during a press conference held by all 12 of its members, declared, “The Republic of Korea will not stand by as the president directly challenges public sentiment. We will make every effort to re-pass the bill.”

By Jang Na-rye, staff reporter; Kang Jae-gu, staff reporter

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