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President Kim, GNP head fail to produce agreement

Posted January. 04, 2001 19:56,   


President Kim Dae-Jung and opposition Grand National Party (GNP) leader Lee Hoi-Chang discussed a wide range of state matters Thursday, but failed to produce any agreement on pending issues.

The two leaders only confirmed their sharp differences on major issues such as the ``lending" of lawmakers and the investigation into suspicions that the nation's top intelligence agency contributed campaign money to the then ruling party ahead of the 1996 general election.

As a result, the current political deadlock over the transfer of three lawmakers from the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) to the splinter United Liberal Democrats (ULD), among other things, is most likely to persist for the time being.

During the meeting, Lee called on the President, as head of the MDP, to apologize for ``lending¡¯¡¯ the three lawmakers to the 17-member ULD in order to allow it to become a floor negotiating group.

But the President said the GNP must accept partial responsibility for the situation because it refused to pass a bill to revise the National Assembly Law such that it would require only 10 lawmakers to form a floor negotiating group.

He said that the MDP immediately would recall the three lawmakers if the GNP votes in favor of the revision bill.

As for the allegation the former Agency for National Security Planning, now the National Intelligence Service (NIS), funneled money into the then New Korea Party, now the GNP, ahead of the 1996 general election, Kim said that the money was used as by to support the then ruling party's election campaign. He said that since the NIS is in charge of national security, the accusations were very grave. The people will not tolerate any disputes on these kinds of matters, the President stressed.

Presidential spokesman Park Joon-Young quoted Kim as telling Lee, ``I had planned to administer state affairs through dialogue and compromise with the opposition party, but I am very disappointed because the GNP doesn't seem willing to do so.¡¯¡¯

¡°How could I achieve this aim while the opposition party was attempting to undermine the presidency?¡¯¡¯ the President was also quoted as saying.

The President asked for the opposition party¡¯s cooperation in restoring the national economy and resolving inter-Korean issues, the spokesman added.

GNP leader Lee called for a sweeping Cabinet reshuffle, an end to investigations into past issues, suspension of the MDP¡¯s coalition with ULD and the ruling camp¡¯s plan to forge an arbitrary political realignment, the spokesman said.

Referring to current economic problems, Lee asked the government to handle the ongoing restructuring in a fair and just manner and employ pump-priming measures on the basis of successful restructuring.

Lee also asked the President to come to the forefront in administering state affairs and assume more political responsibility, according to the spokesman.

Meanwhile, the two leaders agreed to set up the special committee on South and North Korean relations under the National Assembly at an early date, in accordance with an agreement made in their talks on Oct. 9 last year.

After the meeting, Lee said in a press conference at GNP headquarters that although he talked for hours with the President, he was disappointed with the results. He said the President did not understand the current state of the nation and how uneasy the people feel about it.

He also said he had hoped the GNP could cooperate with the ruling party in resolving political matters and bringing about an economic recovery but that the President had not shown any sincerity.