(LEAD) Moon asks opposition leaders to endorse extra budget

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in renewed his call for parliamentary approval of a government bill on extra budget in a rare meeting with ruling and opposition party leaders Wednesday, saying it will be a little push but all that is needed to put the economy on the right track.

"It is clear our economy too is beginning to improve. We have confidence that we can further improve the economy with just a little push," the president said while meeting with the ruling and opposition party leaders at his office Cheong Wa Dae.

The meeting came at the request of the president who offered to explain the outcome of his recent participation in the Group of 20 summit in Germany.

The five-way meeting, however, also provided the president with a rare opportunity to personally explain his policy aims to the opposition leaders.

Wednesday's meeting involved Park Joo-sun of the liberal People's Party, Lee Hye-hoon of the splinter conservative Bareun Party and Lee Jeong-mi of the progressive Justice Party, along with ruling Democratic Party chief Choo Mi-ae.

Hong Joon-pyo of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party boycotted the meeting.

The government is seeking an 11.2 trillion won (US$9.96 billion) supplementary budget, part of which is earmarked for up to 110,000 new jobs in the public sector.

The budget bill, however, has remained blocked partly due to opposition objections and also paralysis at the National Assembly caused by an opposition boycott over some of Moon's controversial minister-nominees.

The People's Party ended its prolonged boycott of parliamentary sessions following what it called an apology from the president over remarks from the ruling party leader attacking the opposition party.

Still, the rival parties remain unable to narrow their gap over the supplementary budget nearly two months after it was submitted.

"I wish to ask you party leaders to show your leadership so that we may revive the economy," the president said, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.

The meeting over lunch was quickly followed by an extended meeting held behind closed door, where the president and party leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including North Korea, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

The opposition leaders especially expressed concerns over the new government's North Korea policy, two days after Seoul proposed holding military and Red Cross talks with the communist North, the presidential office said in a press release.

Such concerns came after the U.S. government expressed its apparent opposition to resuming inter-Korean talks in the near future, noting the current conditions were "far away" from those needed for the resumption of dialogue with Pyongyang.

Moon agreed the current conditions may be off from those needed for resumption of denuclearization negotiations with the North, but said the meetings recently proposed by his government had to do with humanitarian issues, Cheong Wa Dae said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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