Main opposition party submits proposal for dismissal of unification minister

SEOUL, The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) on Wednesday submitted a proposal calling for the dismissal of Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon.

The conservative party claimed that he violated the Constitution by pushing for projects to connect inter-Korean railways and roads without undergoing a parliamentary procedure required by the charter for such plans involving massive fiscal spending.

"This constitutes a violation of the Constitution, which stipulates the need for parliamentary consent in clinching and ratifying treaties or legislation that would incur a massive fiscal burden on the nation or the people," the LKP said.

The party also cited Cho's responsibility for letting the September inter-Korean summit agreement be approved at a Cabinet meeting even before a ratification motion for the April summit deal is endorsed at parliament.

Last week, President Moon Jae-in ratified his third summit agreement with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and a military inter-Korean deal, both signed on Sept. 19, without parliamentary consent.

The National Assembly has yet to begin reviewing the April inter-Korean summit deal, called the Panmunjom Declaration, amid partisan wrangling.

The LKP regarded Moon's move as a violation of the Constitution, under which the ratification of treaties with foreign nations pertaining to national security and needing budget spending is subject to parliamentary consent.

The party also mentioned the minister's decision to exclude a North Korea-born reporter from covering the recent inter-Korean talks.

There was an outcry from North Korean defectors and other journalists over Cho's decision on concerns over the violation of freedom of the press and discrimination against defectors in the workplace.

"The move constitutes an infringement on North Korean defectors' human rights and suppression of the freedom of the press, the basis of democracy," the LKP said.

The dismissal motion can be passed at a plenary session at the National Assembly if more than a majority of existing lawmakers approve it.

But President Moon has no legal obligation to dismiss the minister.

The ruling Democratic Party (DP) denounced the LKP's move.

"The LKP's real intention is apparently to hamper peace on the Korean Peninsula by any means," Hong Young-pyo, the DP's floor leader, said at a meeting with senior party members.

"The party should stop its move to find fault with what the government and the ruling party are doing unconditionally," Hong said. "If (a player) tackles too hard (in a sport), he or she gets ejected."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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