Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on Tuesday met with Rep. Yun Ho-jung, a co-chair of the Democratic Party of Korea’s interim leadership committee, in a gesture seeking cooperation from the country’s main opposition party.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Han visited Yun first before he met with leaders of the ruling People Power Party. This move showed his enthusiasm to cooperate with the opposition party, at least on the surface.
Overall, Han’s first encounter with the main opposition party went smoothly, as they mutually approved of future cooperation.
Han and Yun agreed on holding regular sessions between the government and the country’s major political parties during their meeting at the National Assembly in Seoul.
During his talk with the prime minister, Yun requested the government to initiate close communication with the National Assembly in dealing with state affairs. In reference to surging inflation and other risks facing the country, Yun said the president and the government should “lend an ear to the voices of citizens” in solving such issues.
He also asked the government to closely communicate with the National Assembly, which represents the people.
In response to Yun’s request, Han pledged to make sure that the government will consult the National Assembly through regular sessions.
Yun also asked Han to “deliver the National Assembly’s opinions to the president in their entirety, without any omissions and advise the president if his judgment is found wrongful.”
“As the country’s prime minister, I will speak to the president about whatever that is required in my position to say. I will not hesitate to speak, keeping in mind that it is my last opportunity to serve the country,” said Han.
On Han’s visit to the southeastern rural village of Bongha on Monday to pay his respects to the late President Roh Moo-hyun, Yun thanked Han. It was the first time that such a large number of conservative government officials attended a memorial service for the late liberal president.
Han said he remembers Roh as a president who stressed communication and political cooperation.
“While serving as the last prime minister of the Roh administration, I learned a great deal (from him) about managing state affairs,” he said.
Han, who was appointed on Monday as President Yoon’s first prime minister, served as Roh’s last prime minister between 2007 and 2008.
On the new administration’s deregulation initiatives, however, Yun expressed concern.
Yun argued that regulation and corporate responsibility must not be confused, and that deregulation should not be used to lift corporate responsibility.
“Corporate responsibility and potential damages on the labor side should be discussed when talking about deregulation,” Yun said.
Han agreed with Yun, saying: “Freedom and responsibility are two sides of the same coin.” Han added that the government will consult with the National Assembly before seeking to implement measures on cutting red tape.
In the afternoon, Han met with Lee Jun-seok, head of the People Power Party. Lee asked the government to address the surging inflation, while Han asked Lee for the party’s support for swift implementation of the extra budget.
Meanwhile, Han also joined a minister-level meeting and reaffirmed the Yoon administration’s strong commitment for less bureaucracy. Han said the government’s deregulation initiative should take place on a larger scale compared to the past. Han also hinted that all government agencies should consider implementing individual task forces for a stronger deregulation push.
By Shim Woo-hyun (email@example.com