President Moon Jae-in, meeting with floor leaders of the two main political parties on Thursday, asked for bipartisan cooperation in the government’s response to unprecedented challenges amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
In the meeting with Rep. Kim Tae-nyeon of the ruling Democratic Party and Rep. Joo ho-young of the main opposition United Future Party, Moon also stressed the importance of communication among the leaders of both parties and the president, saying that discussions on current issues and state affairs should be held regularly.
“The easy way to cooperative politics is the president and ruling and opposition bloc meeting often,” Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Kang Min-seok quoted Moon as saying.
According to Kang, Moon also urged the two floor leaders to ensure that the two parties work together in the 21st National Assembly, set to kick off on Saturday, saying that the previous parliament failed in that aspect.
Moon also called for the parties’ cooperation in dealing with the fallout from COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the current crisis, which is said to be unprecedented since the Great Depression, the third supplementary budget and employment-related bills must be swiftly passed by the National Assembly,” Moon was quoted as saying by his spokesperson.
Kim added that Joo proposed the establishment of a political affairs minister’s post to facilitate communication between the government and the parliament, and that Moon orders his chief of staff Noh Young-min to review the issue.
Following the meeting, Joo said at a briefing that he promised his party’s cooperation, if Moon treats the opposition party as a partner in state affairs. He also said that he raised the need for regulatory reforms and flexibility in the country’s labor market, and that Moon expressed his agreement.
Going into the meeting, Joo hinted at the tension between the ruling and main opposition parties, saying that it was up to Kim for smooth operation of the parliament in response to Moon’s comment that he has high hopes from the two floor leaders.
The friction between the two parties has escalated since the April 15 general elections over a range of issues including the controversy over Yoon Mi-hyang, an activist-turned lawmaker-elect, and the party reportedly demanding that all parliamentary committees be headed by its lawmakers.
Yoon, who won a proportional representative seat on the ruling party’s ticket, has been embroiled in controversy surrounding her actions while heading an NGO fighting for survivors of sexual enslavement during Japan’s occupation of the Korean Peninsula.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org