South Korea's parliamentary speaker on Monday called for the timely passage of the government's 2019 budget proposal as the National Assembly has kicked off its review of the record high fiscal spending plan.
National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang made the remark during his monthly lunch meeting with the chiefs of the ruling party and four opposition parties.
In August, the government submitted the budget motion of 470.5 trillion won ($418.7 billion) that included expanded spending on job creation and social welfare.
A parliamentary plenary session to vote on the budget proposal is slated for Nov. 30, and its legally set deadline for passage falls on Dec. 2.
"I hope that the National Assembly will pass the budget bill by the deadline so that it could regain public trust," Moon said.
The participants exchanged views about key contentious issues, but they failed to reach an agreement on them.
One of the hot-button issues is a delay in the National Assembly's approval of the April inter-Korean summit deal.
Conservative opposition parties are upset at President Moon Jae-in's recent ratification of the September summit agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un without parliamentary consent.
"The longer parliament drags its feet in approving the deal, the worse inter-Korean relations get. We hope that the approval would be made within the ongoing regular session," said Lee Hae-chan, the chairman of the ruling Democratic Party.
But Sohn Hak-kyu, the chief of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party, expressed his opposition to immediate endorsement, saying that an exact calculation of costs needed to enforce the summit deal should be first clarified.
Rival parties also showed divided views about the establishment of a special tribunal over a judicial power abuse scandal.
Four parties, including the DP, announced last month that they will push for a motion to establish a special panel of judges over an allegation that ex-Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae used trials as bargaining chips in its dealings with the presidential office.
During his opening remarks, Kim Byong-joon, the leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, did not bring up the two issues that his party has vehemently opposed.
They also agreed to push for a parliamentary meeting among the six countries involved in the now inactive international talks to denuclearize North Korea -- the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.
The envisioned meeting will be sought on the premise that South and North Korea's first-ever parliamentary meeting will take place as planned, they said.
"We are awaiting North Korea's response as it earlier said that it will notify us of the schedule for working-level talks to prepare for the inter-Korean parliamentary meeting," Lee Kye-sung, a parliamentary spokesman, told reporters. "We are seeing the parliamentary meeting would be possible this year."
Moon and the party chiefs also agreed to seek to visit the US Congress after Washington completes the makeup of the legislature following Tuesday's midterm elections. (Yonhap)