Speaker calls for nonpartisan cooperation over unprecedented challenges

SEOUL South Koreas parliamentary speaker on Monday called for nonpartisan cooperation in dealing with unprecedented security and trade challenges facing the country, during his meeting with the chiefs of five political parties.

National Assembly Speaker Moon Heesang stressed the need for rival parties to create a united front as the country has faced troubles ranging from a trade spat with Japan and North Koreas missile launches to new tensions involving China and Russia over an air intrusion.

We should join hands for nonpartisan parliamentary diplomacy and a firm security posture, Moon said at the luncheon meeting with chiefs of the ruling Democratic Party (DP) and four opposition parties.

Unprecedented threats on the security, diplomatic and economic fields are approaching us, and we are facing challenges that require unified fronts more than ever before, he added.

South Korea faces an escalating trade row with Japan over Tokyos export curbs of key hightech materials against Seoul and its removal of South Korea from a list of trusted trading partners in response to Korean court rulings that ordered Japanese companies to compensate victims of Japans wartime forced labor.

DP chairman Lee Haechan called the current situation very grave and urged a parliamentary role in tiding over the challenges.

Hwang Kyoahn, chairman of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, denounced the governments silence about a series of North Koreas missile launches and Pyongyangs latest belligerent message against the government.

There is no change in our stance toward bipartisan cooperation against Japans export curbs. But it is regrettable that the government has not unveiled proper measures, Hwang said.

Sohn Hakkyu, chief of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party, criticized President Moon Jaeins latest nomination of a controversial former senior presidential secretary for civil affairs as the justice minister.

Cho Kuk was tapped to lead the Ministry of Justice in a Friday Cabinet reshuffle, a move seen as reflecting Moons firm commitment to carrying out a sweeping reform of the prosecution.

Why did President Moon name Cho, the figure to whom the political circle vehemently opposes? This will only intensify the national divide, Sohn said.

Cho is widely expected to face political attacks during a parliamentary confirmation hearing, with conservative opposition parties strongly opposed to Moons drive to set up an independent unit designed to probe corruption by highranking officials and reform state prosecutors.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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