Parliamentary ratification of summit declaration emerges as hot-button issue

SEOUL, The proposed parliamentary ratification of last week's inter-Korean summit declaration is emerging as a political hot potato, with the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) calling it a "disguised peace show" and a political event ahead of the June local elections.

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling Democratic Party have sought the ratification to ensure that the "Panmunjom Declaration" can be enforced under a legal framework and continue to stay effective regardless of a change of government.

The LKP opposes the ratification on the grounds that the declaration lacks specifics, particularly about costly cross-border projects, while some members raised the suspicion that the ruling bloc is seeking to turn the political pendulum in its favor ahead of the local elections.

In the declaration following the summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, they affirmed the shared goal of "complete denuclearization" and agreed to halt all hostile acts against each other as well as to seek a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War and a peace regime among other things.

The past cross-border summits in 2000 and 2007 produced two declarations underscoring inter-Korean cooperation, exchanges and tension reductions, but the agreements fizzled out following a change of government.

Calls for policy consistency have continued, as Seoul's stance on the communist regime has oscillated between engagement and strict reciprocity, in a stark reminder of intense division among liberals and conservatives.

The ruling party lambasted the LKP for deprecating the summit declaration.

"It appears that the LKP seems to be stuck in the past when it enjoyed (political) gains over security issues," Choo Mi-ae, the party's leader, said during a meeting with senior party officials.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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