Speaker seeks parliamentary ratification of April summit deal next month
SEOUL, Aug. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's parliamentary speaker on Friday raised the need to ratify the April inter-Korean summit agreement in September prior to President Moon Jae-in's visit to Pyongyang for his third inter-Korean summit.
Moon Hee-sang said that the ratification would lend support to President Moon when he meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un next month amid impasses in nuclear talks between the United States and the North.
"It would be desirable for ruling and opposition lawmakers to accompany Moon on his visit to Pyongyang after dramatically ratifying the April agreement sometime after Sept. 9 and right before the president's trip," the speaker said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.
He referred to North Korea's 70th anniversary of its founding that falls on Sept. 9.
President Moon and the North's leader held a historic summit on April 27, which calls for North Korea's complete denuclearization and the recovery of inter-Korean relations. They held the second summit in May and will have another in mid-September.
President Moon hopes to make inter-Korean summit agreements survive across administrations through parliamentary ratification.
The National Assembly failed to ratify landmark inter-Korean summit declarations in 2000 and 2007. The failures led the implementation of such deals to fall through after conservative administrations took office.
"It would be very nice if the summit agreement could be approved unanimously, but what parliament should do in the end is vote," the speaker said.
Meanwhile, the speaker stressed the need to reform the electoral system to ensure representation.
"To reform the election system is more important than a constitutional revision," Moon said, reiterating that the country should adopt a mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation system.
Under MMP representation, the number of parliamentary seats that each party receives is tied to the percentage of voter support for the parties.
If adopted, alloted seats for each party would be first filled with those who are elected in constituencies and the remainder would be filled by proportional representation.
Moon also called for rival parties' cooperation for constitutional revision.
"Constitutional revision should be made. People want it, and ruling and opposition parties have shared the need to curtail 'emperor-like' presidential power and address the current concentration of power," the speaker added.
In March, President Moon submitted a constitutional revision bill that calls for changing the current single five-year presidential term to a maximum of two successive four-year terms. But in May, opposition parties boycotted a parliamentary vote on it.
Source: Yonhap News Agency