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Kim, Goh Discuss Political Cooperation

Posted February. 09, 2006 04:30,   


“I came to here to publicly propose a grand consolidation of conscientious forces,” said ruling Uri Party standing advisor Kim Geun-tae at a breakfast lecture given by former Prime Minister Goh Kun at the Incheon Paradise Hotel yesterday.

“I am ready to meet anyone,” Goh replied.

Kim, who is running for the ruling party’s leader post and is a strong presidential hopeful, and Goh, met and talked at the lecture.

Kim, who stayed at a hotel in Incheon the previous day, showed his good faith by coming to the lecture room some 10 minutes earlier and waiting for Goh. Kim was Goh’s junior at Kyunggi High School.

Their meeting was open and friendly, according to observers. “I came to here to press Goh to express his specific political stance,” Kim said. “I am sorry for suggesting this matter publicly, but I want to ask him to join my camp as an ally for substantial talks and cooperation.”

Goh responded favorably, saying, “We are in the same frequency, not in the same code. Speaking publicly is part of the process of fine-tuning our opinions.” He added, “I am on the same page in principle with Kim on his plan to unify pan-democratic power and with ruling Uri Party lawmaker Im Jong-seok’s plan to unify the moderate reformists.” He still showed a prudent attitude, however, saying, “Because I do not take part in political activities now, it is not right to decide on whether I should actively participate in their plans.”

Although the two exchanged their opinions on the issue of unifying democratic power (or conscientious forces) on three previous occasions through the press, it is the first time the two have met officially.

Kim, who is falling behind ruling party standing advisor Chung Dong-young in the party leader run-up, regards his meeting with Goh as a necessary step for a come-from-behind victory.

An official from Kim’s camp expressed high expectations, saying, “We expect the possibility of cooperating with Goh to have much more influence on the election than Chung’s slogan in which he insists on a local election victory through topping the list again in political parties’ approval ratings.”

Some speculate that discussions on merging the ruling party with the Democratic Party, a key issue that will be discussed at the party’s national convention, will gain momentum.

Goh’s camp seemed wary of putting too much weight on the meeting, however. In response to the question, “Chung might feel dissatisfaction with the meeting,” Goh answered, “I am always open to all. My frequency does not refuse to receive any signals.” Goh also stressed his independent political schedule, saying, “When I come to the conclusion what I should shoulder for the country, I will announce my decision.”

Goh plans to come to the political forefront after the May local elections. But some of his aides say that Goh may put his political plans into motion earlier than scheduled.

yongari@donga.com jin0619@donga.com