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President Roh, “Faster Handling of Economic Bills”

Posted December. 30, 2004 22:29,   


President Roh Moo-hyun on December 30 invited National Assembly Speaker Kim One-ki, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Choi Jong-young, Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan, President of the Constitutional Court Yun Young-chul, and Chairman of the National Election Commission Yoo Ji-dam, all of whom are heads of the five central national organizations, and their wives to join a luncheon at Cheong Wa Dae.

In fact, due to the decisions on the presidential impeachment and the relocation of the administrative capital, the president and Justice Yun have maintained a somewhat strained relationship. It has been a year since last December’s end-of-the-year dinner for the president and the Constitutional Court’s head to have a meeting.

After the president’s visit to the Latin American countries, three high-ranking officials and heads of the opposition as well as ruling parties were invited on November 25 to Cheong Wa Dae for a briefing on the results of the presidential visits, but Justice Yun was not on the guest list. When a reporter asked, “Did you feel in any way offended when you weren’t invited last time?” Justice Yun tried to be careful about his response, saying, “No….”

Justice Yun and the president shook their hands and the justice congratulated him on the overseas visits, to which the president gave a short “yes.”

President Roh and invitees reportedly talked about the president’s visits and the economy for about an hour and half in a relaxed atmosphere. It is said that the impeachment attempt and the failure to move the administrative capital were not mentioned.

At the luncheon, President Roh told his guests, “Everyone is talking about the economy so it would be good if the bills on the economy could be dealt with at the National Assembly as soon as possible.” National Assembly Speaker Kim replied, “Politicians from the ruling and the opposition parties are negotiating on those matters in an effort to settle the issue.”

Kim added, “The revised election laws and the laws concerning political financing do not seem to match the reality. Due to the improper operation of the patronage system, politicians are having trouble.” The guests began arriving at the main building of Cheong Wa Dae around 11:50 a.m. even before the luncheon started. They had a conversation for about 10 minutes at the adjacent audience chamber on the Southeast Asian tsunamis.

Shortly after, the president appeared and greeted the speaker, saying, “You must be tired at the end of the year.” Speaker Kim returned the greeting, saying, “I have to help make adjustments for the president to have a fresh start in 2005.”

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com