Separation or suture? Yoon Seok-yeol and Kim Jong-in’s ‘Chicken Game’

People’s Strength presidential candidate Yoon Seok-yeol moves to a luncheon with candidates competing in the intra-party primary at a restaurant in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul on the 23rd. joint photo shoot

Yoon Seok-yeol, a presidential candidate for the People’s Power, and Kim Jong-in, a former emergency committee chairperson, are playing a ‘chicken game’ over the composition of the ‘3 Kim (Kim Jong-in, Kim Byeong-jun, Kim Han-gil) Election Response Committee’. In response to Kim’s “return to daily life” remarks, Candidate Yoon countered that “the position has already been decided”. It is unclear whether the end of the conflict will be a closure or a breakup. At the ‘(MBN) Reporting Contest’ held at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Jung-gu, Seoul on the 23rd, Candidate Yoon was asked a question about former Chairman Kim’s joining as a predecessor and said, “I don’t know. Please don’t ask me what that gentleman is talking about.” He expressed his displeasure by referring to former Chairman Kim as “the yangban.” Former Chairman Kim mentioned the possibility of ‘not attending the election’. He met reporters in front of the Jongno-gu office in Seoul and said, “I don’t want to talk about politics anymore. I am now returning to my daily life.” He was referring to his intention to get rid of his hands in the presidential election. Then he said, “I haven’t been in contact with (Candidate Yoon) since yesterday,” he said. It left a clue that if candidate Yoon changed his mind and respected his will, there would be room for ‘reconsideration’. However, Candidate Yoon’s side is also not going to give up this time. An official from Candidate Yoon’s side said, “The candidate’s position has already been decided. It is a matter for former Chairman Kim Jong-un to decide,” he said. They say that they have no intention of throwing away Kim Byung-jun, the permanent election chairman, and Kim Han-gil, chairman of the New Era Preparatory Committee, whom former Chairman Kim despises. When asked by reporters, ‘Do you have any intention of visiting or contacting former Chairman Kim?’, Candidate Yoon replied, “Isn’t it right to wait because you said you would think about it?” It means that there is no way to go first. It is also known that there are not a few claims from Candidate Yoon’s side that ‘there is no need for Kim Jong-in’.

Kim Jong-in, former chairman of the People's Power Guard, leaves the office in Jongno-gu, Seoul on the morning of the 23rd.  yunhap news

Kim Jong-in, former chairman of the People’s Power Guard, leaves the office in Jongno-gu, Seoul on the morning of the 23rd. yunhap news

As the conflict between Candidate Yoon and former Chairman Kim continued, Rep. Jang Je-won, who had been mentioned as the chief of the candidate’s chief of staff, announced on the same day, “I will leave Candidate Yoon’s side.” Former Chairman Kim is known to be reluctant to assume the position of chief of staff by Rep. Jang, who calls himself a ‘furious political engineer’. Rep. Jang wrote on Facebook, “On the stage of Yoon Seok-yeol, any person other than Yoon Seok-yeol is just a supporting actor.” It was interpreted that the article was aimed at former Chairman Kim, who was expecting the role of a ‘one-top’ with full power. Former Chairman Kim reacted bitterly, saying, “It has nothing to do with me that Rep. Jang leaves Candidate Yoon’s side.” While the two sides are facing each other tightly, there is also a prospect that this conflict will also be another fight for dominance. It is said that former Chairman Kim is using a unique ‘cliff-edge tactic’, and eventually both sides will compromise again after going through a period of cooling. An official from People’s Power said, “There is room for former Chairman Kim to contemplate joining,” but he predicted, “If middle-level lawmakers put down their previous positions and renew the atmosphere, there will be room for (negotiation).” Reporter Kim Mina [email protected]

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