Published : 2013-02-14 19:23
Updated : 2013-02-14 19:23
It is encouraging that the main opposition Democratic United Party has been in step with President-elect Park Geun-hye and the government in coping with North Korea’s nuclear threat.
In a departure from its past reluctance to denounce the North’s provocative acts, the DUP issued a statement strongly condemning Pyongyang’s third nuclear test Tuesday. Its interim leader joined talks with Park and the head of the ruling Saenuri Party last week to adopt a rare joint statement, which urged Pyongyang to call off the nuclear test threat and pledged bipartisan cooperation on matters related to the people’s livelihoods.
In the face of growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, coupled with the transition period in the South, bipartisan cooperation is needed more than ever to ensure national security and ease public anxiety.
It is undesirable that the rival parties have struck a slightly different tone on measures to be taken against the North despite their unified voice in condemning its nuclear test. The opposition party has called for efforts to resume inter-Korean dialogue while the ruling party has urged the government to push for strengthened sanctions against the North. The political circles need to show a concerted stance in support of measures to make Pyongyang pay a due price for its provocative acts threatening peace and security on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
The DUP is urged to adopt a more complete and realistic view of the threat from the North and convince the public of its changed position with more consistent and concrete actions. For her part, the president-elect needs to share information with the opposition party and treat it as a true partner in getting through the security crisis and handling other state affairs. Such efforts should be kept well into her presidency that starts on Feb. 25.
In the remaining days of the transition period, Park and her aides should also maintain close cooperation with the outgoing government in assessing North Korea’s nuclear capability and the validity of her proposed approach to Pyongyang, which focuses on the process of building mutual trust.
The grave situation facing the nation leaves no room for internal discord over how to deal with substantial dangers from Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal. Without being supported by domestic unity, the incoming government could be hardly effective in inducing the U.S., China and other neighboring powers to take the course in the best possible interests of the country.
In this vein, bipartisan cooperation is also needed in ensuring the early formation of Park’s administration, which is unlikely to be completed by the time Park takes office. The president-elect is certainly responsible in part for delaying the work to form the new government by resorting to secretive and uncommunicative ways of selecting personnel.
And yet, the opposition is asked to be cooperative in expediting parliamentary confirmation hearings for Cabinet nominees and approving the government restructuring plans drawn up by Park’s transition team. In turn, Park may have to make some concessions to the opposition’s demands on reorganizing the administrative chart and pay more heed to critical views of her personnel appointments.