Opposition party filibusters against anti-terrorism bill

South Korea's main opposition party kicked off a filibuster during a parliamentary session Tuesday, in protest against an assembly speaker's decision to put a long-stalled anti-terrorism bill to a vote.

Earlier, National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa invoked his authority to take the bill to the floor for a vote that has been stalled for more than a decade.

Since the first draft of the bill was filed with the National Assembly following the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 as a measure to effectively fight against terrorism, no major progress has been made.

The bill was scrapped every time during previous parliaments due to concern about giving more authority to the National Intelligence Service (NIS), South Korea's top spy agency, and its possible abuse of power.

Under the bill, an anti-terrorism center will be set up under the Prime Minister's Office, but the NIS will have the power to gather the relevant information on possible terrorists and attacks.

The bill has gained new momentum following North Korea's nuclear test and long-range rocket launch in recent weeks.

President Park Geun-hye has expressed concerns over possible terror attacks, urging bipartisan cooperation for the endorsement of the bill meant to better protect the lives of South Koreans.

Source: Yonhap news agency

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