NATIONAL

Government, parties agree to cooperate on economic, social issues

By Choi He-suk
  • Published : Nov 5, 2018 - 17:25
  • Updated : Nov 5, 2018 - 17:25
The country’s five political parties on Monday agreed to cooperate on economic and political issues to aid people’s livelihoods and businesses in a meeting with President Moon Jae-in.

The agreement was reached in the first meeting of the state affairs negotiation group comprising the ruling and opposition parties as well as the government. 

President Moon Jae-in and floor leaders of the five political parties hold a meeting at the presidential office on Monday.
From left: Justice Party’s Rep. Youn So-ha, Bareunmirae Party’s Rep. Kim Kwan-young, Party for Democracy and Peace’s Rep. Chang Byoung-wan, Senior Secretary for Political Affairs Han Byung-do, Democratic Party of Korea’s Rep. Hong Young-pyo, President Moon Jae-in and Liberty Korea Party’s Rep. Kim Sung-tae. Yonhap

The parties were represented by Reps. Hong Young-pyo, Kim Sung-tae, Kim Kwan-young, Chang Byoung-wan and Youn So-ha, respectively the floor leaders of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, main opposition Liberty Korea Party, Bareunmirae Party, Party for Democracy and Peace and Justice Party.

Saying the parties and government share the view that the economy is in a grave crisis, the parties said they would cooperate in processing bills and the budget regarding support for low income groups and small merchants.

The parties, with the exception of the Justice Party, agreed to cooperate in expanding flexible work hours and revising regulations regarding corporate activities.

The parties also said they would work together on processing bills for boosting regional economies and strengthening local governments.

The parties will push to introduce tougher laws against driving under the influence of alcohol and spycam crimes, and to boost child care and childbirth-related support.

Regarding North Korea, the parties said that they will cooperate to facilitate denuclearization and to arrange an inter-Korean parliamentary meeting.

The parties also agreed to discuss revising election laws, including the idea of lowering the voting age to 18 and seeking ways to improve the country’s nuclear power industry and to aid its expansion into foreign markets.

While the parties were mostly in agreement on the agenda, the Liberty Korea Party’s Kim Sung-tae took the opportunity to press his party’s criticism of presidential aides, in particular chief of staff Im Jong-seok.

Saying the presidential aides were “crossing the line” in carrying out their own political activities, Kim Sung-tae requested Moon put an end to regular meetings among Im, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon and ruling party leader Rep. Lee Hae-chan.

“The meeting could cause many unnecessary misunderstandings with the public. (The meeting) could be seen as privatization of power,” Kim Sung-tae said, reiterating the request that Moon put an end to the meetings.

The Liberty Korea Party and moderate conservative Bareunmirae Party have intensified fire against Im in recent weeks, accusing the chief of staff of activities aimed at furthering his own political career.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)