Yoon says sorry to ex-President Park, invites her to inauguration ceremony

SEOUL-- President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol met with former President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday, telling her he was sorry over their erstwhile relationship surrounding a corruption probe of Park and inviting her to his inauguration ceremony.

"We talked about the president's health," Yoon told reporters after paying a visit to Park at her residence in her hometown of Daegu. "And we do have a history. I told her about my regret and that I felt sorry for her in my heart."

After Yoon invited Park to his May 10 inauguration ceremony, she said in response that, given her current health condition, she is not sure whether she can attend it but she will try to improve her health and make it to the ceremony, according to officials of both sides.

Yoon led an investigation team in 2016 into Park's corruption scandal that led to her impeachment, ouster from office and imprisonment. Yoon said during the election campaign that even though he did what he was supposed to do as a prosecutor, he feels apologetic toward Park.

Park was pardoned in December after spending four years and nine months in prison on a 22-year sentence for corruption. After months of treatment at a Seoul hospital, she returned to a new residence in her hometown last month.

Their 50-minute meeting was held in a friendly atmosphere, according to Rep. Kwon Young-se, a close aide to Yoon, and lawyer Yoo Yeong-ha, a key aide to Park.

During the meeting, Yoon said he feels regret over the fact that good policies and achievements of Park are not recognized, and that he will try to redeem her honor by promoting and succeeding her work, the officials said.

Park then expressed her gratitude.

She also told Yoon to take good care of his health, saying "health is really important once you take office," and said she wishes Yoon will become a good president.

In response, Yoon asked Park to give him a lot of advice.

Yoon also promised he will make sure Park does not feel any inconvenience as a former president in regards to her recovery, including security issues when visiting a hospital in Seoul.

Yoon also mentioned Park's father and late former President Park Chung-hee, saying he looked into how Park Chung-hee ran the Cabinet and the presidential office, and is learning from how he handled state affairs.

Daegu was the last stop in Yoon's two-day swing through key cities in North Gyeongsang Province that was organized to express gratitude for the support that people in the region showed him in last month's presidential election.

Yoon was scheduled to return to Seoul later Tuesday.

Source: Yonhap News Agency