This is the first meeting with senior secretaries in the New Year and the first convening of my so-called second team of Cheong Wa Dae secretaries. If my first team could be defined by innovations aimed at forging a framework for transitioning into an innovative, inclusive nation, this current team should become known for a leap forward that produces and institutionalizes innovative results. Reflecting on its first years of experience, I hope Cheong Wa Dae will become a more competent organization – one that recognizes room for improvement and makes up for shortcomings.
Communication skill is a barometer of competence. I ask you to communicate better with all – the public; businesses, labor and civil society; government ministries and agencies; the ruling party; and opposition parties.
What is most important is for us to hold onto a grave sense of duty, responsibility, pressure and integrity until the end; Cheong Wa Dae must set an example to never lose sight of the original intentions we had at the inauguration and uphold the public sentiment stoked by the candlelight rallies. Above all, I urge those in this second Cheong Wa Dae team to begin by contemplating and renewing our original commitment.
A recent string of allegations about violence and sexual assault perpetrated in the athletic community unveiled the shameful, hidden dark side of the Republic of Korea’s grand sports powerhouse facade. It also exposed our internal backwardness compared to our external growth. Even though snippets of similar cases have come to light at times, we have failed to take fundamental measures to rectify the situation, allowing it to persist. For this reason, we should see to it that thorough probes and investigations will be conducted and stringent punishment meted out this time around – not only for those cases that have already been revealed but also for any within the realm of probability for the fundamental improvement and qualitative growth of our society.
What matters most is to ensure that the victims of violence or sexual assault are thoroughly protected from any subsequent harm during the process of inquiries or investigations. With this guaranteed, I urge you to help create an environment where all victims can courageously disclose everything they have suffered, not only for themselves and those who follow but for the progress of our society.
I also hope this will serve as an opportunity to thoroughly reexamine and improve the "win-at-all-costs" philosophy and elite-focused training in sports. Sports should be a means for self-realization and growth; sports should be enjoyable. I would like to emphasize, yet again, that any sort of oppression or violence cannot be justified just to improve records or win a medal at international competitions.
For student athletes, sports are emphasized more than academics, so they face difficulties finding another career path should they halt their athletic pursuits. This is why they feel compelled to unconditionally obey coaches or managers who hold sway over their participation in competitions, entering schools and landing jobs.
I hope you will also examine whether there is any room for improvement in the system where most athletes – be they elementary school students or members of the national team – are required to practically live together full time in a training camp.
The leaders of the athletic community have to consider whether they are passing down the same oppressive apprenticeship-style training that they themselves received as athletes or have only partially broken free from such a system. With this in mind, the community must come up with internal reforms that can win public support.