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[Editorial] Take Note of Roh’s Meeting With Park

Posted September. 02, 2005 07:16,   


President Roh Moo-hyun proposed talks, or what really is a political negotiation, to opposition Grand National Party (GNP) leader Park Geun-hye, which she accepted. After some two months of repeated proposals for coalition put forth in ever more contentious form since the end of June, President Roh finally succeeded in bringing Park to the negotiating table, who kept rejecting his previous proposals. The president is probably hoping to cut a deal in the talks to form a coalition government and turn political conditions to his favor. It is possible that he will make an even more controversial offer.

Park may have said yes to the overture for fear of being branded as a helpless main opposition leader with no alternatives to suggest unless she does something in response to Roh’s offensive. Now that she agreed on a meeting, she should say something else than “I do not want to waste any more words.” She should put forward some very convincing arguments for opposing coalition, so that the GNP can win the support of the majority of people. In this regard, she is facing a crucial challenge.

President Roh said the key message of the coalition proposal to the GNP is, “Give up the benefits you enjoyed under regionalism. Take some responsibilities instead of just being negative.” His attack turned the tables to his favor and drove the GNP to a corner that it cannot get out of unless it gives some answer to his demands. Indeed, Park ought to provide some kind of “response.” This is the kind of effort the main opposition leader should live up to in order to put an end to the controversial coalition proposal that most people disapprove of. Her response may even decide the fate of the GNP for as long as until the next presidential election.

President Roh, for his part, should break away from his one-sided drive to turn the meeting into another “lecture on forming a coalition.” He is required to put into practice the skills of conversation, cooperation, and compromise that he has talked about. Without the sincere intention to accept Park’s “response” to his proposal, the meeting would be better off not happening at all.

Korean people are somewhat fed up with the president’s “bomb remarks,” and feel uneasy about them. The meeting between Roh and Park should be an opportunity to resolve the uneasiness.