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 God also divided the two Koreas, and 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, adding that it was a geopolitical blessing from God.
He also said Korea was liberated from Japan, not because of the people's independence movement, but because it 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 but a small group of junior lawmakers from the ruling party has called on Moon to step down.
The opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy's co-leader Ahn Cheol-soo also called on President Park to withdraw Moon's nomination, saying it would be the right decision if she doesn't share his views.
The man in question said it was regrettable that his comments were misinterpreted but at the same time seemed firm that he had no intention of apologizing.
Laah Hyun-kyung, Arirang News.