Moon calls for bipartisan efforts to deal with provocative N. Korea

By Yonhap

Published : Oct 12, 2017 - 09:41
Updated : Oct 12, 2017 - 09:41

President Moon Jae-in called for the opposition's support for government efforts to tame provocative North Korea Wednesday, renewing his call for bipartisan measures to handle security concerns facing the country.

The president's call came in a meeting with a group of ruling and opposition party lawmakers who recently visited the United States to discuss joint efforts by the allies to deal with the communist North.

The meeting involved Rep. Chung Dong-young of the liberal opposition People's Party and Rep. Choung Byoung-gug of the splinter conservative Bareun Party. It was also attended by Reps. Lee Seok-hyun and Kim Doo-gwan of the ruling Democratic Party, according to the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

President Moon Jae-in (c) poses for a picture with ruling and opposition party lawmakers ahead of their meeting at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Oct. 11, 2017. They are (from L) Rep. Kim Doo-gwan of the ruling Democratic Party, Rep. Chung Dong-young of the People`s Party, Moon, Rep. Choung Byoung-gug of the Bareun Party and Rep. Lee Seok-hyun of the ruling Party. (Yonhap)

"The president asked (the lawmakers) to support government efforts to overcome the crisis facing the Korean Peninsula by putting together the ideas and opinions of each and every political party," Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Soo-hyun said in a press release.

Moon earlier proposed setting up a permanent consultative body consisting of representatives from the ruling and opposition parties and the government to allow discussions and bipartisan efforts on "at least security issues."

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party has refused to take part, accusing the government of only seeking to control the opposition-led parliament.

The ruling party currently controls 121 seats, the largest number held by any single party but far short of a majority in the 300-seat National Assembly.

The LKP has 107 parliamentary seats, while three other opposition parties, including the progressive Justice Party, together control 66 seats.

Meanwhile, the president stressed the need to put additional pressure on North Korea to force the communist state to the dialogue table, the lawmakers who took part in Wednesday's meeting said, asking not to be identified.

"We have no choice but to push for sanctions against the North and seek the resumption of dialogue at the same time," Moon was quoted as saying.

The president noted the North may have missed a chance to put a peaceful end to the nuclear stalemate, saying Pyongyang's declaration to give up its nuclear ambitions may offer such a chance.

"But now, it is difficult to find such an opportunity due to increased tension amid an exchange of verbal attacks between the North and the United States," Moon said, according to the lawmakers.

The president also said he had prior knowledge of the latest US military exercise near the Korean Peninsula involving two US bombers from Guam.

"It could further raise tensions, but we needed to support the US move to put pressure" on North Korea, the president told the meeting, according to the lawmakers. (Yonhap)


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The Korea Herald by Herald Corporation