During a lecture at his church three years ago, Prime Minister-nominee Moon Chang-keuk said Japan's forced colonization of the Korean peninsula in the early 20th century was part of God's will to awaken the Korean people.
He added that God also divided the two Koreas, saying that if the Korean peninsula had been an independent state at the time, the South would have settled on communism.
At a lecture the following year, the nominee put his ultra-right views on display again, saying Korea was able to enjoy economic development by adopting technologies from Japan during the colonial era, and that it was a geopolitical blessing from God.
Moon also denied that Korea's liberation from Japan was because of the people's indepedence movement, saying instead that liberation was granted to Koreans by the will of God.
In response, ruling Saenuri Party floor leader Lee Wan-koo said he believes the comments were not ill-intended and that the nominee was trying to say that Korea as a nation should learn from past mistakes and move forward.
The opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy had a decidely different reaction.
They called the nominee's comments "anti-national and outrageous," and said President Park should immediately withdraw his nomination and apologize to the public for another failed personnel appointment.
Moon Chang-keuk's representatives in a statement say the comments are being misinterpreted since broadcaster KBS has only aired portions of them.
Laah Hyun-kyung, Arirang News.