President Moon Jae-in and floor leaders of the ruling and opposition parties held their first policy coordination meeting on Monday at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, reaching an agreement on issues, including expansion of flexible working hours, expanding beneficiaries of children’s allowance, and lowering the legal voting age to 18. Meeting the leaders of the five political parties in three months, President Moon said he would not rush them into ratifying the Panmunjom Declaration but asked them to release a statement, welcoming North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s visit to South Korea instead.
“We are not sure whether it will happen within the year or later but we are making preparations assuming that it is going to take place within this year,” said President Moon while meeting with the leaders of five political parties including Democratic Party of Korea floor leader Hong Young-pyo, Liberty Korea Party floor leader Kim Sung-tae, Bareunmirae Party floor leader Kim Kwan-young, Party for Democracy and Peace floor leader Chang Byoung-wan, and Justice Party floor leader Yoon So-ha and added that he would appreciate it if the National Assembly releases a statement, welcoming Kim’s visit to Seoul.
The luncheon and the meeting with the floor leaders started at 11:20 a.m. and lasted until 2:00 p.m. President Moon and the floor leaders released a statement after the meeting that said, “The government and the ruling and opposition parties share a common understanding that the economy is in a dire condition and therefore will promote bipartisan cooperation on legislative and budgetary measures in order to improve the lives of people.” The statement consists of 12 clauses, such as lowering the legal voting age and deregulation requested by Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling party, expansion of flexible working hours and enhancing national competitiveness on nuclear power proposed by the Liberty Korea Party, and revision of broadcasting act requested by Bareunmirae Party. The Justice Party, however, did not agreed on the expansion of flexible working hours and deregulation.
“The National Assembly will actively discuss ways to deliver the agreement,” President Moon and the floor leaders of the five political parties said. But a bumpy road is expected as most of the agreements are on a theoretical level. The second meeting between the president and the floor leaders is scheduled to be held in February next year.
Sang-Jun Han email@example.com