Yoon may visit former President Park prior to meeting Moon

SEOUL-- A highly anticipated meeting between President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol and former President Park Geun-hye appears to be shaping up for sometime next week amid uncertain prospects for his long overdue meeting with President Moon Jae-in.

Park, who was pardoned last December after spending nearly five years in prison over abuse of power and other crimes, left a Seoul hospital and arrived at her new residence in the southeastern city of Daegu on Thursday.

Yoon, known for his unusual relationship with Park dating back to 2017 when he, as a state prosecutor, investigated her corruption allegations, has expressed a wish to visit her before and after being elected new president.

As Yoon is expected to visit Daegu next week to offer thanks to local residents over his election victory, his meeting with Park is expected to take place then, officials said.

By contrast, Yoon's first meeting with Moon has been indefinitely postponed. They had been scheduled to have a one-on-one lunch at Cheong Wa Dae on March 16 in their first meeting since Yoon won the March 9 presidential election. But both sides announced the postponement of the lunch meeting that morning.

They are reportedly at odds over many pending issues, including a pardon of imprisoned former President Lee Myung-bak and reshuffles of high-profile government figures.

Moon's opposition to Yoon's plan to relocate the presidential office from Cheong Wa Dae to the defense ministry compound has further complicated prospects for their meeting.

Sixteen days have passed since the March 9 election and the longest time it takes for an incumbent president to meet a president-elect was 18 days. Unless progress is made soon, that record is likely to be broken.

Yoon's side said it is difficult to attach any special meaning to whomever the president-elect meets first.

"Park was a president who came from our People Power Party. It is very natural for the president-elect to visit and console her. Yoon's meeting with Park is considered human while his meeting with Moon will be a political one," said an official close to the president-elect.

Some political watchers regard Yoon's desire for a meeting with Park as his effort to expand the conservative base by embracing her supporters.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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