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Asia

South Korea premier nominee, Moon Chang-keuk, withdraws

The second nominee for South Korea's prime minister has withdrawn his name from consideration. The decision followed mounting criticism over alleged pro-Japan remarks he made.

South Korea's prime minister nominee, Moon Chang-keuk, withdrew his name from consideration on Tuesday following controversial remarks he made about the country's troubled past with Japan.

"I wanted to help President Park Geun-hye. I have decided that I would be helping President Park by withdrawing at this time," Moon told a news conference.

Moon has been under fire after media reported comments he made at a church gathering that Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula was God's will. Japan colonized Korea from 1910-1945. During Tuesday's news conference, Moon said his comments were taken out of context.

Moon, a former senior journalist, was nominated for the position by Park as part of a cabinet reshuffle in the aftermath of the Sewol ferry disaster in April that killed more than 300 people. Current Prime Minister Jung Hong-won announced his desire to resign shortly after the accident.

The first nominee for the position, former Supreme Court justice Ahn Dai-hee, withdrew his name last month over questions about his earnings after leaving public office.

The nomination withdrawal marks the latest political setback for President Park who has suffered a sharp drop in public support since the ferry tragedy. Her government has been sharply criticized for its slow and ineffective handling of the disaster. Last month, Park vowed to overhaul government bureaucracy and improve safety oversight.

hc/jm (Reuters, AP)

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