Go to contents

Justice Ministry: No National Assembly Agreement Necessary for Joint Declaration

Justice Ministry: No National Assembly Agreement Necessary for Joint Declaration

Posted October. 10, 2007 07:22,   


As the controversy over whether an agreement from National Assembly is needed for the 2007 South-North Joint Declaration heats up, the Ministry of Justice announced yesterday that it is not an issue that needs to be confirmed by the National Assembly.

The ministry sent a mail to the Ministry of Unification on October 5 that read, “As it is hard to see the summit as a legally binding convention between the two Koreas, the National Assembly’s agreement is not necessary.”

The justice ministry interpreted that the declaration is not like a legally binding convention, but more like a Gentleman’s Agreement, which does not need the National Assembly’s consent.

Article 21, Clause 3 of the Development Law for South and North Korea stipulates that the National Assembly shall have the right to agree on the ratification of South and North Korea’s joint agreement regarding legislation, or any mutual agreement which could pose a financial burden to the public and to the nation.

The interpretation of “heavy financial burden” is the most controversial part of the clause because the term “heavy” could mean different things.

The government claims that the declaration will not give rise to any specific financial burden to the people immediately, and that an agreement from the National Assembly will be needed when the financial burden is detailed in a meeting with the prime minister.

As Unification Minister Lee Jae-jeong is being criticized by politicians after saying that, “The National Assembly’s agreement is only needed when a declaration is specifically implemented by a business.” But he took a step back by saying, “We will decide through a consultation with related ministries, including the Office of Legislation.”

Politicians, including ones from the Grand National Party, persist on saying that an accurate estimate of expenses for greater inter-Korean economic cooperation should presented and the National Assembly should agree with it.

The Office of Legislation, which requested an opinion be submitted on this issue together with the Ministry of Justice, is reviewing this matter and is expected to send a statement to the Ministry of Unification on October 10 at the at the earliest.