S. Korean PM-designate trudges through hearing

17:48, August 24, 2010      

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South Korean Prime Minister-nominee Kim Tae-ho faced a tough grilling at a parliamentary confirmation hearing Tuesday, as the 48-year-old former governor seeks to become the youngest in nearly four decades to take up the top Cabinet job.

DELUGE OF QUESTIONS

"Though I was born to a poor farmer, I rose through ranks, from being a provincial assembly member to a county governor and then a provincial governor, all with the spirit of challenge," Kim said in his opening remarks on the first day of the two-day public hearings.

"I will do my best to help the young pursue their dreams bravely and determinedly," he said.

The prime minister-designate said he will work to lead the nation beyond the divisions of ideology, regionalism and generation, which he said mar national unity.

Opposition lawmakers, not easily persuaded, quizzed him intensively on his alleged ties to a high-profile influence- peddling scandal and suspected illicit financial activities, including a sudden increase in his wealth and seemingly abnormal credit card usages.

Kim admitted that he is well acquainted with Park Yeon-cha, the convicted former head of shoemaker Taekwang Industry who bribed many politicians for financial gains, but called his suspected involvement in the bribery scandal "completely groundless."

He was not indicted during the prosecutors' investigation into the case last year due to a lack of evidence. The opposition camp had tried in vain to bring in key witnesses of the case to the Tuesday's hearing for testimony.


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(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

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