Published : 2013-09-17 14:25
Updated : 2013-09-17 16:15
Parliamentary gridlock is likely to be prolonged after President Park Geun-hye and opposition leader Kim Han-gil failed Monday to narrow differences over sensitive issues involving the National Intelligence Service and the embattled prosecution chief.
Park issued a strong warning on Tuesday toward the opposition party over its continued street protests and boycott of the parliament.
“The opposition party will face the people’s resistance if it sticks to fighting outside the National Assembly and continues to ignore the issues of the people’s livelihoods,” Park said during a Cabinet meeting.
She accused the Democratic Party of holding the people’s interest hostage to its political gain.
“I was once an opposition leader and brought my party out of trouble, but never did anything that sacrificed the people for the party’s purpose,” she said.
She called for the DP to return to the National Assembly to deal with legislation regarding the economy and welfare.
The remarks came one day after she held her first three-way talks with Kim and ruling Saenuri Party chairman Rep. Hwang Woo-yea.
The meeting was convened to resolve nearly two months of political stalemate, but only worsened tension and mistrust between Park and the opposition party.
The DP said that the party will continue with its outdoor rallies in front of City Hall in Seoul.
Immediately after the talks, Kim said the meeting yielded “no right answers.” His chief aide Rep. Roh Woong-rae insinuated that none of the party’s aims were achieved.
The party hardened its rhetoric Tuesday, warning of a long, full-fledged battle against the Park administration.
“A full moon is approaching but the dark night of democracy is lengthening and the shadow over people’s lives is deepening,” Kim said on Tuesday during a meeting with provincial government chiefs.
“The DP’s choice is now clear. Together with the people, we have to struggle our way with extraordinary resolve,” added party floor leader Jun Byung-hun.
The government and the opposition have long been at loggerheads over the National Intelligence Service’s alleged involvement in last year’s presidential election.
During Monday’s talks, Kim demanded that the president apologize for the NIS’ actions and guarantee the parliament the lead in reforming the spy agency.
In addition, Kim also called on the president to show “willingness to revive democracy” by uncovering the truth and punishing those involved in the issue.
As Park appears unlikely to apologize for the developments, Kim has backed himself into a tight corner.
Park is said to have declined to answer Kim’s questions regarding the apology and other demands of the DP, sticking to her earlier position that she did not have a hand in the NIS’ actions and that the DP should wait and see how related developments pan out.
The president and the ruling party’s unwaveringness, however, is not the only issue facing Kim.
The DP has so far used the regular session of the National Assembly as a tool to further its street campaign by refusing to hammer out the schedule for the 100-day session.
However, once the Chuseok holidays are over, more than one-fifth of the session will have gone by, and the DP’s position will further be undermined should it refuse to take the session into full swing.
In addition, the DP chairman used the meeting to churn up the issue of the 2007 inter-Korean summit transcript, which had fallen under the radar for some time.
The DP claims that major players within the Saenuri Party including Rep. Kim Moo-sung had access to the transcript during Park’s election campaign, and used its contents against Rep. Moon Jae-in.
The transcript, which has since been found missing, is said to contain former President Roh Moo-hyun’s words denying the validity of the Northern Limit Line to then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)