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Finance minister urges lawmakers to pass 2020 budget bill

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki called for lawmakers to approve next year's budget bill on Tuesday, when the parliamentary session ends.

South Korea is seeking a total of 513.5 trillion won ($430.2 billion) in budget spending for next year, a 9.3 percent hike from 2019. The National Assembly already missed the Dec. 2 deadline to pass the budget bill due to political battles.

This year marked the fifth straight year the National Assembly has missed the legal deadline, as the partisan standoff over key contentious bills has shown no signs of abating.


"Today is the final day of the National Assembly's session. So the budget bill must be approved by today," Hong said in a Facebook post.

At least 148 out of 295 lawmakers need to be present at parliament to put a bill to a vote in a plenary session. A majority of votes, at least 75, is needed to endorse the measure, according to the National Assembly's procedures.

The ruling Democratic Party has 129 seats, with the main opposition Liberty Korea Party holding 108, and minor opposition parties and independents accounting for 58.

South Korea's export-reliant economy is grappling with the lengthy trade war between the United States and China and a cyclical downturn in the global chip industry.

The nation's economy grew a less-than-expected 0.4 percent in the third quarter of this year.

The third-quarter estimate marked a slowdown from a revised 1 percent on-quarter expansion in the April-June period.

South Korea's exports sank 14.3 percent in November from a year earlier, extending their slump to a 12th consecutive month. (Yonhap)