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Corruption Scandal: Viagra adds pep to South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s Impeachment Move

A presidential spokesman, Jung Youn-kuk, insisted that besides the more common bedroom use, the pills are sometimes taken to prevent or treat altitude sickness

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South Korean protesters wearing masks of South Korean President Park Geun-hye, right, and Choi Soon-sil, who is at the center of a political scandal, stage a rally calling for Park to step down in downtown Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 2, 2016. VOA
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Seoul, Nov 24, 2016: The discovery that the staff of South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who is currently mired in a huge corruption scandal, stocked up on drugs like Viagra, added pep to the opposition move to impeach her early in December.

South Korea’s main opposition party, the Democratic Party, on Thursday said it will put the impeachment motion to vote in the National Assembly between December 2 and 9, Efe news quoted a party spokesperson as saying.

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On Monday, the three largest opposition parties announced their intention to call for Park’s impeachment after the prosecution indicted her as an accomplice to her confidante Choi Soon-sil in a large-scale corruption and influence-peddling case.

Park, already getting mounting calls for her to step down over the scandal, now also has to explain why her staff stocked up on drugs like Viagra, commonly prescribed for erectile dysfunction.

Kim Sang-hee, an opposition lawmaker, on Wednesday raised the issue by citing medical insurance data showing the Blue House, as the President’s office is known, had bought 60 Viagra ‘Blue pills’ and 304 pills of the generic equivalent, sildenafil citrate, last December.

A presidential spokesman, Jung Youn-kuk, insisted that besides the more common bedroom use, the pills are sometimes taken to prevent or treat altitude sickness.

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Jung said doctors had prescribed them for presidential aides to have handy for that purpose during Park’s official visit in May to Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Those countries’ capitals are all well above sea level — Addis Ababa’s elevation is 7,700 feet.

As it happened, Jung said, none of the pills was used on the trip.

None of this was of much help to Park, who has been struggling with the corruption scandal for weeks.

For the impeachment motion to be successful, it first needs the approval of two-thirds of Parliament’s Lower House.

While the opposition does not enjoy such a broad majority, the motion could still go through as several lawmakers from the ruling party Saenuri, have joined the demand for the President’s resignation.

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Should the motion be approved in Parliament, six of the nine Constitutional Court judges will then have to give their nod to what would be the first impeachment proceedings in South Korea since the country was founded in 1948.

Prosecutors believe it was in collusion with Park that Choi — now dubbed the “Korean Rasputin” and who has never held public office — secretly intervened in state matters, used her influence to illegally extort funds from companies, and secure academic privileges for her daughter.

The scandal has sparked great outrage in the country, with over a million protesters taking to the streets over the past few weeks asking the President to step down. (IANS)

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Kim Jong Un Reportedly on Visit to China

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Kim Jong Un
Policemen take position along Beijing's main east-west thoroughfare, Changan Avenue, near the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 26, 2018. VOA

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is reportedly in China on an unannounced visit, Bloomberg News reported Monday, citing three unnamed sources.

There was no official statement on the report, which was not covered by Chinese or North Korean state media. If Kim is in China, it would be his first foreign trip since taking power in 2011.

kim jong un
It would also mark a significant diplomatic development ahead of a potential meeting between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump. Wikimedia Commons

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Footage from Japanese TV showed an old-style green train at a Beijing train station similar to the one used by Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il.

Journalists in Beijing also reported seeing a military honor guard welcoming a convoy of vehicles arriving at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, where top North Korean officials have stayed during a visit to China.

There were also reports of heavy security along Beijing’s main east-west thoroughfare, Changan Avenue. Police also cleared all tourists out of Tiananmen Square, which usually only happens when Chinese leaders are meeting with visiting heads of state in the Great Hall of the People. VOA