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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

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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US Clears $314 Million in Possible Sales of Air Defense Missiles to S. Korea

South Korea already uses SM-2 missiles developed by Raytheon Co., but is building more missile defense-capable destroyers equipped with the weapon

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FILE - A Taiwan navy Kidd-class destroyer launches an SM-2 surface-to-air missile during a drill near the east coast of Taiwan, Sept. 26, 2013. The Pentagon announced May 17, 2019, that a possible sale of $314 million worth of the missiles to South Korea had been approved. VOA

The U.S. State Department has cleared $314 million in possible sales of air defense missiles to South Korea, the Pentagon said, as tensions re-emerge on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea, a key Asian ally of the United States, asked to buy up to 94 SM-2 missiles used by ships against air threats, along with 12 guidance systems and technical assistance, for a total cost of $313.9 million, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said on its website. The agency, a unit of the Department of Defense, delivered certification on Thursday notifying Congress of the possible sale.

The proposed sale, announced Friday by the Pentagon, comes after North Korea recently criticized South Korea’s defense purchases from the United States, including the arrival of the first F-35 stealth aircraft.

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South Korea already uses SM-2 missiles developed by Raytheon Co., but is building more missile defense-capable destroyers equipped with the weapon. Pixabay

With denuclearization talks stalled after a second summit between North Korea and United States broke down in Hanoi in February, North Korea went ahead with more weapons tests this month.

ALSO READ: North Korea Fires Two Short-Range Ballistic Missiles, Says S. Korea’s Military

The reclusive North and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, rather than a peace treaty. South Korea already uses SM-2 missiles developed by Raytheon Co., but is building more missile defense-capable destroyers equipped with the weapon.

North Korea has boasted about its indigenous surface-to-air missiles. Separately, Japan, another key U.S. ally in the region, was also cleared to buy $317 million worth of medium-range air-to-air missiles from Washington, the DSCA said. (VOA)