South Korean President Moon Jae-in invited Song Young-gil and Yun Ho-jung, the leader and floor leader of the Democratic Party of Korea, to the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Friday and emphasized the importance of having a ‘competent one team.’ He also said that there can be a gap between the government and the ruling party toward the end of a presidential term, expressing concerns about the signs of a rift between the government and the ruling party, such as open criticism within the party toward Cheong Wa Dae following the devastating loss of the by-elections on April 7. “The party’s voice should be reflected on all policies going forward,” Song said, expressing his will that the party won’t be swayed by Cheong Wa Dae in the face of a presidential election.
President Moon said the government and the ruling party should show competence. The word ‘competence’ especially sounds empty coming from him as the incompetence of the current administration was clearly revealed through real estate policies and job issues. There have been only arguments for about a month now even though the government’s real estate policies require a full revamp as they have caused skyrocketing housing prices, the crisis of monthly rentals and lump-sum leases, and a drastic increase in real estate holding taxes. While more and more members of the ruling party argue to raise the threshold of imposing gross real estate tax to 1.2 billion won, Cheong Wa Dae is putting the brakes on it, saying that the decision should be made carefully. Solutions appropriate for the president’s comment on how shocked he was “by a strike of a bamboo clapper” should be put forward.
Song who has been expressing his idea that the party should have leadership should deliver more clear messages on sensitive current issues. Even though it was a meeting with a president, his vague comment on real estate issues that they will closely discuss the issue of next year’s property tax with the special committee is rather disappointing. However, it was positive that he asked for the president’s attention on small modular reactors (SMRs) regarding nuclear power plants, which is a topic many ruling party figures are hesitant to talk about due to the current administration’s policy to end the use of nuclear power plants.
At the press conference to mark his fourth anniversary of his inauguration, President Moon praised various achievements made by the private sector as if they were the results of the government’s efforts, expressing his determination to continue ‘his way’ when handling state affairs for the remaining year. The ruling party has no choice but to seek a big shift in policy stance, reflecting the public’s opinions. In this structure, opposing opinions between the government and the ruling party can lead to conflicts and trouble in the ruling power. Regardless of whether Cheong Wa Dae leads state affairs or the ruling party drives Cheong Wa Dae, what’s important is the livelihood of people. Both sides need to put their heads together to address real estate and job issues to become a ‘competent one team’. Repeating policy consistency is not the best course of action. Prime Minister Kim Bu-gyeom who was appointed on Friday after some problems should play an active role in resolving conflicting opinions between Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling party and helping a flexible shift in incorrect policy stance.