President Moon Jae-in speaks at the meeting with ruling Democratic Party leaders on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday called for cooperation between ruling and opposition blocs, saying “cooperative politics” is more important than ever as the nation struggles against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There has never been a time when the people wanted cooperative politics between the ruling and opposition parties, agreement among the government, and ruling and opposition parties more than now,” Moon said at a meeting with the leaders of the ruling Democratic Party including chairman Rep. Lee Nak-yon and floor leader Rep. Kim Tae-nyeon.
“As the situation for the nation, and the people’s livelihood is grave, cooperative politics has become more important than ever.”
Citing the ruling and opposition parties agreeing to increase the number of days workers can take off work to care for family members as an example of cooperative politics, Moon urged the ruling party to take the lead in working with the opposition.
“I hope that cooperative politics between the government and the National Assembly, and among ruling and opposition parties and the government can advance further, and for the ruling party to take the lead and to act as a catalyst,” Moon said, adding that the government will do all it can in that regard.
Describing the current government-ruling party relationship as “fantastic,” and citing plans to finalize the fourth supplementary budget bill, Moon went on to stress the ruling party’s role in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact.
Moon said that the fourth supplementary budget, which will include subsidies for small merchants in industries experiencing difficulties due to the pandemic, and other support measures will be finalized at the emergency economic meeting scheduled for Thursday.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Lee requested Moon to meet with the leaders of political parties, or to hold a “one-on-one meeting.” Although Lee did not specify, he is thought to have been referring to a meeting between the president and People Power Party’s interim leader Kim Chong-in.
Talks of a meeting between the president and the main opposition leader have been floating around the political arena for some time, but failed to materialize with the ruling and opposition parties remaining poles apart on major issues.
Kim Chong-in has also played down the significance of such a meeting, saying that meeting Moon in itself has little meaning unless the meeting leads to real results.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com)