Leaders of ruling, main opposition parties agree to cooperate on livelihood issues

The leaders of the ruling and the main opposition parties on Wednesday agreed to strengthen bipartisan cooperation on livelihood issues in their first meeting after the ruling party's newly-elected leader took office.

The agreement came as the 17-minute meeting between Kim Gi-hyeon of the ruling People Power Party (PPP) and main opposition Democratic Party (DP) leader Lee Jae-myung took place at Lee's office, a week after Kim was elected PPP leader. The PPP's new leadership, including Secretary-General Lee Chul-gyu, accompanied him.

Kim, the PPP leader, proposed biweekly meetings or other forms of talks to better discuss and cooperate on pending issues.

"It is true that the value and direction pursued by the parties are different, but I am certain we can always come together on basic issues to protect the lives of the people such as those on livelihood and national security," he said.

Kim also asked Lee for the DP's cooperation on swiftly approving less controversial bills pending in the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

In response, Lee said that politics should be a "competition" of who takes better care of the people.

"We also think that looking after the people's livelihood is the most important role of politics. Politics should not be a political struggle to destroy the other but a competition on who takes better care of the people."

The opposition leader reiterated his call for an emergency bipartisan meeting on economic affairs in the wake of growing concerns over global economic headwinds.

Participants said the party leaders did not discuss thorny issues such as the government's compensation plan for victims of Japan's wartime forced labor and corruption allegations surrounding Lee.

DP spokesman An Ho-young said Kim stressed the need for deregulation in economic policy and investment, while Lee said that regulations necessary for the public's safety and lives should be tightened.

Kim was set to meet with former President Lee Myung-bak later in the day.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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