President Moon Jae-in on Thursday called for bipartisan efforts to improve the country's relations with North Korea, including parliamentary ratification of his April agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The call came as Moon is set to hold his third meeting with Kim in Pyongyang next month.
"As you know, a South-North Korea summit will be held in Pyongyang next month, and I believe it would provide great support when I hold the summit in Pyongyang if the National Assembly ratifies the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration," the president said while meeting with the floor leaders of all five major political parties here, including the ruling Democratic Party and the main opposition Liberty Korea Party.
The Panmunjom Declaration refers to the joint statement that the leaders of the two Koreas issued at their first-ever summit held in the border village of Panmunjom on April 27. Moon and Kim met again in Panmunjom on May 26.
The president also offered to include parliamentary representatives on his scheduled trip to Pyongyang for inter-Korean parliamentary talks.
"I believe it would be a great help in pushing for a South-North Korea parliamentary dialogue if the parliament ratifies the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration before the Pyongyang summit," he said.
Thursday's meeting was held over lunch at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, also involving the floor leaders of three minor opposition parties -- the Bareunmirae Party, the Party for Democracy and Peace and the Justice Party.
The meeting marked the second of its kind. However, it came amid apparently dwindling public support for Moon.
Two separate surveys conducted by two local pollsters -- Realmeter and Gallup Korea -- both showed Moon's approval rating falling to record low levels last week. Moon's first meeting with floor leaders was held in June 2017, shortly after his inauguration on May 10 that year.
Moon sought to win opposition support for government efforts to revitalize the economy.
"I appreciated and was glad to see the agreement to deal with various legislation related to the people's livelihood and regulation reform in the extraordinary parliamentary session in August," he told the meeting, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.
"If I were to be little more greedy, I believe the people sincerely hope to see joint governance between the ruling and opposition parties and the government," he added.
To this end, the president renewed his proposal to form a permanent consultation body with the ruling and opposition parties.
"I believe we may give the people a little more hope if we could reach an agreement on specific measures for joint governance today, such as an agreement on the establishment of a standing consultation body of the government and ruling and opposition parties and that it will meet at least once each quarter," he said.
The president also stressed the need to revise the country's election law.
"Speaking on the premise that this is an issue that should be discussed between the ruling and opposition parties, I have insisted on the need to reform the election system to enhance representation and proportional representation (of constituencies) before anyone else to share my personal opinion," Moon said.
"I wish to state that personally, as president, I strongly support a revision to the election system that would ensure such representation and proportional representation," he added. (Yonhap)