South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye is embroiled in a lurid corruption scandal that threatens to hamstring her remaining year in office. The scandal has plunged Ms. Park’s approval ratings to record lows, sent thousands of angry demonstrators into the streets, and sparked demands that she resign.



The scandal involves Choi Soon-sil, a close friend of Ms. Park’s family. Ms. Choi’s father, Choi Tae-min, the founder of an obscure religious sect, was a spiritual adviser to Ms. Park’s father, the South Korean dictator Park Chung-hee, and to Ms. Park after her mother was assassinated in 1974. After Mr. Choi’s death in 1994, his daughter took over her father’s role at Ms. Park’s side. In that capacity, Ms. Choi, — who has never held a government job, has no security clearance and no policy background — was apparently deeply involved in state affairs. She also apparently used her influence to coerce companies into donating nearly $70 million to two foundations she controlled, and to secure her daughter admission at one of South Korea’s most prestigious universities. On Wednesday, South Korean prosecutors said they would bring criminal charges against Ms. Choi.

この腐敗スキャンダルは朴槿恵氏の家族や親しい友人のチェ・スンシルと関与している。実体が不明な一宗派の創始者であるチェ・スンシルの父チェ・テミンは、韓国の独裁者であった朴槿恵氏の父パク・チョンヒに、1974年の朴槿恵氏の母が殺された後、朴槿恵氏の精神的アドバイザーであった。 1994年チェ・テミンの死後チェ・テミンの娘が朴槿恵の隣で父チェ・テミンの役割を演じた。そのような関係から、公職もなくセキュリティ情報にアクセス許可もなく、政策的キャリアが全くないチェ・スンシルが国政に深く関与していた疑いがある。チェ・スンシルはまた、自らの影響力を利用して、自身が運営していた二財団法人に約7万ドルを寄付するように企業側に余儀なくさせて、韓国で最も有名な大学の一つに娘を入学させたという。水曜日に韓国検察はチェ・スンシルに対して刑事告発をすると述べた。


When she was elected in 2012, Ms. Park promised that she would end the corruption that has long plagued South Korea’s political leadership, saying: “I have no child to inherit my properties. You, the people, are my only family, and to make you happy is the reason I do politics.” She also pledged to tackle growing economic inequality, rein in South Korea’s powerful chaebol, or family-controlled conglomerates, and improve relations with North Korea.



It is hard to see how Ms. Park can accomplish any of this now. Her term in office will end in February 2018, and she faces fierce resistance from opposition parties that constitute a majority in South Korea’s Parliament. On Wednesday, Ms. Park replaced her prime minister and two other cabinet ministers, but opposition lawmakers vowed they would not approve the new appointments.



Though Ms. Park admitted in a televised speech last week that she shared “certain documents” with Ms. Choi and apologized to the South Korean people, she refused to allow prosecutors to search aides’ offices in the presidential offices. South Koreans deserve a thorough and independent investigation into the Choi affair. Ms. Park’s future in power will depend on it.



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