Assembly speaker vows more communication with president

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jun 11, 2014 - 20:55
  • Updated : Jun 11, 2014 - 20:55
A direct line of communication between the National Assembly speaker and the president has been set up, National Assembly Speaker Rep. Chung Ui-hwa said Wednesday.

In an interview with a local news agency, Chung said that President Park Geun-hye provided a hotline number following his request.

“(I) will make a call if the people’s voice (needs to be heard) or if there is something the president or the government and Cheong Wa Dae has done wrong,” Chung said.

Adding that he will also request hotlines between the National Assembly secretary general and the chief of staff, and between the speaker’s chief of staff and the senior presidential secretary for state affairs planning, Chung said that communication between Cheong Wa Dae and the parliament must be made easier.

Chung also revealed that an advisory committee consisting of 13 experts and a taskforce will be established to plan an inter-Korean parliamentary meeting. According to Chung, the president has approved of the meeting, which he promised during the press conference held after he took office on June 2. 
National Assembly Speaker Rep. Chung Ui-hwa makes an opening speech at the plenary session at the National Assembly in Yeouido, Seoul, on Wednesday. (Lee Gil-dong/The Korea Herald)

“Within this week, a survey of all lawmakers will be conducted, and a meeting with lawmakers of three or more terms will be held where (the issue) will be negotiated with the government,” Chung said.

He added that he plans to send letters to North Korea’s Kim Yong-nam and Choe Thae-bok to organize a meeting. Kim is the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea, while Choe serves as chairman of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly.

“(An inter-Korean parliamentary meeting) will serve to help (inter-Korean) government-level talks to mature, and provide an alternative route when talks between the governments are about to break down.”

Regarding the drive to revise the Constitution, Chung said that the revision should be made with the far future in mind.

“A revision is necessary, but it should be a revision that prepares for reunification, one that is not limited to changing the power structure, a Constitution that can be used as it is even after reunification,” Chung said.

“If (the drive for the revision) is moving in the direction of drawing up a ‘unified Constitution,’ I will take the lead.”

Chung also expressed dissatisfaction with the “National Assembly advancement act,” which is a collection of revisions made to the National Assembly Act to prevent physical violence, the railroading of bills by the majority party and other problems that have plagued Korea’s parliament.

Noting that making changes will be difficult, Chung said that the parties could be encouraged to suggest alternatives in the 2016 general elections, and suggested keeping the National Assembly in session around the year as a means for counteracting the negative effects of concerned regulations.
By Choi He-suk (