International Taekwondo Federation (ITF)
Major competitor of WTF
From a November 2003 Tae Kwon Do Times interview with Master Trân Triêu Quâ, new president of ITF.
Question: General Choi’s last words included that he wanted Chang Ung to be his successor. I understand your position to be that Mr. Ung should stood for election in Poland. Is that correct?
Answer: I was not present, so I cannot be sure what General Choi said. If General Choi did name someone to succeed him as President of the ITF, the transition should have been conducted according to the democratic process set out in the ITF constitution. The nominee should have presented himself as a candidate for the presidency, as General Choi did. Then the delegates at the Congress Meeting could have voted for the new president, able to choose freely the candidate they believed was best capable of leading the ITF for the next four years. By trying to impose a president on the ITF, the North Koreans have shown a complete lack of respect for the constitution of the ITF, for its democratic rules, for its members, and particularly for General Choi, who submitted himself to that process at each Congress Meeting. This attempt to bypass our democratic process is absolutely unacceptable.
Although we may never learn exactly what General Choi said on his deathbed, we can be sure that his true last wish and words of guidance for us for the future were expressed in the introduction to his last book Moral Culture. This book was written when General Choi was in good health and able to freely express his ideas. He had come to realize that most of the emphasis had been placed on the teaching of the technical aspects of TKD and felt it would be up to the next generation to give equal importance to the teaching of the Do. With the support of the senior members of the ITF, I will do my best to implement a well-balanced program to teach both the technical and the mental aspects of ITF-TKD at all levels. In the circumstances, those of us who are responsible for the future of ITF TKD are called upon to use our discretion and make decisions
Question: In the confusion that followed the Special Congress in Pyongyang, Mr. Tom MacCallum was accused of stealing 60,000 and a computer. Mr. MacCallum was described by General Choi as one of his most trusted friends. Will you describe for our readers what happened.
Answer: It is regrettable that the North Korean organization has circulated rumors and made accusations as a smokescreen for their actions. Here is what happened:
The Directing Committee of ITF authorized Master Tom MacCallum, as Secretary General, to withdraw 60,000USD from the ITF account and to take his computer, in order to preserve the assets and the information database of the ITF. Following an agreement between the lawyers, Master MacCallum returned the funds to the account, minus the amount approved to pay for operating expenses. The North Koreans did not respect their side of the agreement. Using a fraudulent registration certificate, they withdrew all of the funds in the ITF account (160,000USD) and have not returned it.
Question: What is the status of the ITF in the courts?
Answer: The Austrian court has declared that these three people: Chang Ung, Rhee Ki Ha, and Hwang Kwang Sung, do not have a statutory position based on the ITF constitution. I am very pleased to inform you that we have recovered the legal registration of the ITF issued by the Austrian authorities in Vienna. The four legally recognized members of the Executive Committee of the ITF are: Master Pablo Trajtenberg, Senior Vice- President; Master Tom MacCallum, Secretary General; Master Willem Jacob Bos, Treasurer; and myself as President. Also, we have started legal action to take back the headquarters building and to recover the 160,000USD withdrawn illegally from the ITF bank account.
Question: Both Mr. Chang Ung and Mr. Choi Jung Hwa have announced that they are having talks with the WTF. Do you also plan to have meetings with the WTF?
Answer: This is not a priority for me. My chief concern is to modernize and structure the operations of the ITF so that it can better serve the needs of its members. Obviously, I will be very busy in the next few months supervising the revision and implementation of the ITF manual of operations. I will also be visiting each of the continents to meet with our local ITF leaders for discussions on strategic development and to allow our members to tell us what they need and want from ITF. This is how we will ensure that our action plans meet the expectations of our members.