President-elect Park Geun-hye and leaders of political parties will hold an emergency meeting Thursday to discuss the impending nuclear test by North Korea.
The meeting proposed by Park will be the first trilateral gathering including the main opposition Democratic United Party on policy issues since her election in December.
“President-elect Park proposes an emergency meeting with the ruling and opposition parties to discuss the North’s nuclear problem and the security situation on the Korean peninsula,” said Park’s spokeswoman Cho Yoon-sun at a press briefing. The DUP accepted the proposal.
Pyongyang is widely expected to conduct a third nuclear test in the near future despite warnings by Seoul and the international community.
The meeting will be participated in by Saenuri Party Chairman Hwang Woo-yea and DUP leader Moon Hee-sang, as well as the chairman and representative members of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee and the members of the transition committee’s subpanel on foreign affairs, defense and unification.
The actual time and venue of the meeting are yet to be discussed, Cho said.
Cho explained that Park believed it was crucial for the rivaling parties to exchange views on security-related matters.
Park has pledged to implement so-called “trustpolitik” in achieving peace on the Korean peninsula that would involve expanding inter-Korean cooperation in steps based on trust while working on denuclearizing the North.
Faced with the North’s nuclear threat, Park was seen to prioritize reviewing her North Korea policy over her appointment of Cabinet members by arranging an impromptu briefing session with her foreign affairs policy team earlier in the week.
Park also repeatedly expressed concern over the North’s provocations in her meetings with U.S. delegates on Monday.
The DUP welcomed Park’s proposal and said they would discuss the details.
“Park’s suggestion is substantial as it is a situation where the people’s apprehension about the Korean peninsula’s security is growing over North Korea’s anticipated nuclear test,” DUP spokesman Park Yong-jin said at a press briefing.
For its part, the DUP has also simultaneously proposed a four-way meeting gathering President Lee Myung-bak, President-elect Park Geun-hye and the leaders of the two major parties to discuss the North Korea problem. Park Yong-jin said the party deemed the president-elect’s proposal to be a formal response to their suggestion.
The DUP also adopted a declaration on the Korean peninsula’s peace and security, calling on the North to immediately halt its provocations and for South Korea to seek efficient measures to prevent Pyongyang’s nuclear test through dialogue.
Meanwhile, Park’s delegation to the U.S. led by Saenuri Party floor leader Rep. Lee Hahn-koo was set to arrive in Washington, D.C. this week to discuss pending bilateral and regional issues.
“Republic of Korea President-elect Park Geun-hye is sending a high-level delegation to the U.S. capital from Feb. 6-8 for consultations with the State Department and other senior U.S. government officials,” a department official was quoted as telling Yonhap News.
The South Korean team is expected to meet Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the issue of the U.S. delegation to be sent to Park’s inauguration ceremony on Feb. 25 and her plan to visit the U.S. as early as April for summit talks with President Barack Obama.
By Lee Joo-hee (firstname.lastname@example.org)