Days after the June extraordinary parliamentary session ended without addressing key bills, all eyes are on whether a July plenary session will be convened, amid a widening rift between the ruling and main opposition parties.
The ruling Democratic Party of Korea on Sunday continued to call for the unconditional ratification of the extra budget bill submitted in April, butting heads with the main opposition Liberty Korea Party that insists on a parliamentary vote on a motion to call for the dismissal of Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo.
“We would like to issue a warning to the Liberty Korea Party that if it is seeking a strong standoff, there are many options that we (the ruling party) have,” said Democratic Party Floor Leader Lee In-young in a press conference Sunday.
Referring to the Liberty Korea Party’s refusal to expand the supplementary budget from 6.7 trillion won ($5.7 billion) to 7 trillion won to counter Japan’s export curbs, Lee said, “This is a serious warning to the Liberty Korea Party for its repeated rear tackle in the contest between South Korea and Japan.”
“Starting today, I plan to put an end to the vicious cycle of (repeated) political strife,” Lee added.
Democratic Party Floor Leader Lee In-young arrives for a press conference at the National Assembly on Sunday. (Yonhap)
Zeroing in on an undetected North Korean boat that arrived at a port in Samcheok, Gangwon Province, last month, the conservative main opposition is pushing for the dismissal of Defense Minister Jeong.
“Is (the ruling party) yet again using the supplementary budget as an excuse and blaming the main opposition? The national emergency caused by Japan’s retaliatory trade measure is being used to pursue the extra budget,” Na Kyung-won, floor leader of the Liberty Korea Party, wrote on social media.
“Can we overcome Japan’s trade retaliation with the short-sighted 120 billion, 300 billion won (supplementary budget)? This is a groundless statement for business.”
Meanwhile, floor leaders of the three top parties – the Democratic Party, Liberty Korea Party and Bareunmirae Party -- are scheduled to attend a meeting convened by National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang on Monday morning.
The coming week is widely expected to be a make-or-break week for the July plenary session, as a delegation of lawmakers is due to leave for the US on Wednesday to discuss Japan’s stricter trade regulations on high-tech materials crucial for local firms.
By Kim Bo-gyung (email@example.com