The ruling People Power Party proposed a special bill aimed at merging the satellite city of Gimpo into the country's capital of Seoul on Thursday.
The bill was proposed by Rep. Chung Kyoung-tae, the head of the PPP's special committee on the new city project, and co-signed by other party lawmakers, including party leader Kim Gi-hyeon. The PPP plans to process the legislation by the end of the parliament's session next year.
If the bill is passed at the National Assembly, it will take effect starting Jan. 1, 2025. Considering the various administrative changes, the bill sets a grace period of six years.
Other adjacent cities to Seoul were not included in the proposed bill.
The PPP's plan to include Gimpo in Seoul has been one of the most talked about topics in South Korean politics lately. The Gimpo municipal government is in favor of becoming part of Seoul, but the proposal also faced criticism that the PPP is trying to bolster voter support ahead of the April general elections.
The contentious plan to integrate the two cities has picked up speed, with the mayors of the two cities holding a meeting last week to discuss the matter.
Meanwhile, the PPP also said it is planning to propose a separate bill to expand regional hub cities, namely the southeastern port city of Busan and the southwestern city of Gwangju, into megacities, by combining them with other nearby regions.
As a first step, the committee plans to push for a merger between Busan and the neighboring South Gyeongsang Province. (Yonhap)