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Yoon offers first one-on-one meeting with opposition leader next week

By Jung Min-kyung

Published : April 19, 2024 - 17:21

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President Yoon Suk Yeol, left, and main opposition leader Lee Jae-myung. (Newsis) President Yoon Suk Yeol, left, and main opposition leader Lee Jae-myung. (Newsis)

President Yoon Suk Yeol has invited main opposition leader Lee Jae-myung to their first one-on-one meeting through a brief phone call, the presidential office said Friday.

In a surprise 5-minute phone call between the two, Yoon asked Lee to meet him next week at Yongsan, where the presidential office is located, an official at the presidential office told reporters.

In his first phone call to Lee, Yoon added that he hoped to frequently meet from now on to discuss national affairs “over teas and meals,” the official explained.

The official said that Lee welcomed Yoon’s offer by thanking him and expressing hopes to “contribute” to the president’s initiatives.

Yoon has yet to officially meet one-on-one with Lee, since taking office in May 2022. They have had brief encounters in several official events.

Lee has repeatedly called for such an exclusive meeting with Yoon in recent months.

The main opposition Democratic Party of Korea Kang Sun-woo briefed on the situation as well, saying the party welcomes Yoon’s latest offer.

“The Democratic Party of Korea welcomes President Yoon’s offer. It is time to put our heads together for wisdom without (the concept of the rival parties) dividing us,” he told the reporters.

Friday’s phone call comes a week after the April 10 parliamentary elections, where the opposition celebrated a resounding victory and the ruling party suufered a bitter blow.

The main opposition Democratic Party of Korea and its satellite party won a total of 175 seats in the single-chamber, 300-member Assembly. The People Power Party and its sibling party secured a total of 108 seats.

Though the agenda of the planned meeting between Yoon and Lee is unknown at the moment, observers are expecting them to discuss several bills contentiously drawn by the main opposition currently pending in the National Assembly.