A parliamentary resolution adopted at the foreign affairs committee this week to urge the government to withdraw its compensation plan for forced labor victims is invalid because the meeting was convened in violation of due procedures, the ruling People Power Party claimed Tuesday. On Monday, the Democratic Party (DP) passed the resolution through the committee in a meeting the party convened unilaterally without agreement with the PPP. The resolution urged the government to withdraw its plan to compensate wartime forced labor victims on its own without Japan's involvement. Rep. Joo Ho-young, floor leader of the PPP, said that Monday's meeting was illegal because it was chaired by a DP lawmaker, rather than the committee's official chairman. It is only when the committee's chairman refuses to preside over a meeting that somebody else can chair it on behalf of the chairperson, Joo said. "The Democratic Party illegally held a parliamentary foreign affairs committee meeting yesterday unilaterally," PPP floor leader Joo Ho-young said, claiming the meeting was invalid. Joo said the government's compensation plan for victims of Japan's forced labor is the only way to normalize the diplomatic relationship between South Korea and Japan, and respect the Korean Supreme Court's landmark ruling in 2018 that ordered responsible Japanese companies to pay compensation to the victims. "We had to make a choice for the future because trilateral cooperation among South Korea, the United States and Japan, and bilateral cooperation between South Korea and Japan are essential at this time to overcome the North Korean nuclear crisis," Joo said. Joo also noted the U.S. and the European Union supported the plan. Last week, the government announced a decision to compensate victims of Japan's forced labor during World War ?, when South Korea was under Japan's brutal colonial rule, with public donations, rather than money from the Japanese firms that used such labor. The plan, however, has come under heavy criticism from some victims, civic groups and opposition parties. Critics have stressed that it makes no sense for South Korea to compensate victims when they were exploited for labor by Japanese companies. The DP has denounced the decision as the worst diplomatic humiliation the country has ever seen.
Source: Yonhap News Agency