South Korea’s ruling People Power Party (PPP) on Thursday strongly denounced the main opposition Democratic Party’s (DP) plan to send letters urging Pacific island nations to join forces to oppose Japan’s plan to release radioactive water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Rep Yoon Jae-ok, the floor leader of the PPP, said during a party meeting that the DP’s plan is an “irrational” and “irresponsible” idea aimed at scaremongering foreign countries with unscientific claims, and would be a disgrace to South Korea.
“It is such an irrational act that it makes me doubt my ears,” Yoon said. “We urged them to exercise self-restraint and stop it.”
The DP has strongly opposed the Fukushima release plan, arguing that it would pose great health risks to people in South Korea. But the government of President Yoon Suk Yeol says the release would pose no health hazards as long as it is done in a scientifically safe manner.
Yoon also warned that sending the letter could mislead the receiving countries into thinking what’s written in the letter is the official stance of the South Korean government.
“Delivering the opinions of a single political group as if it were the official stance of the government … and asking for cooperation from other countries, is an extremely irresponsible act in international relations,” he said.
PPP leader Kim Gi-hyeon also accused the DP of attempting to use people’s fear to win votes in next year’s general elections.
“It is pathetic to see such cunning acts from DP lawmakers racing to spread more rumors to win party nominations. The DP has exacerbated public anxiety with groundless and scientifically unproven rumours on radioactivity,” he said.
The DP fought back, saying the PPP had not carried out an agreement reached two weeks prior on parliamentary efforts, such as a National Assembly hearing, to verify whether the treated water is safe enough.
“More than 84 percent of people are strongly against the ocean dumping of the contaminated radioactive water from Fukushima. If the National Assembly does not show its will to protect our people’s lives and safety against this problem, then it has failed to fulfill its duties,” said Rep Park Kwang-on, the DP’s chief policymaker.
Park added that a DP lawmaker has been on hunger strike since Wednesday to fight against the release plan.
SOURCE: YONHAP NEWS/PACNEWS