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Pres.-elect proposes bipartisan talks on NK`s nuke test

Posted February. 07, 2013 04:12,   


President-elect Park Geun-hye on Wednesday proposed to the ruling and opposition parties an urgent meeting on North Korea’s expected nuclear test.

The main opposition Democratic United Party expressed its intent to accept the offer, calling it "a meaningful proposal," but objected to the scope of participants.

In a news briefing at the presidential transition committee`s office in central Seoul Tuesday, the president-elect’s spokeswoman Cho Yoon-sun said, “The security of the Korean Peninsula is in serious danger due to North Korea’s threat of a nuclear test,” adding, “President-elect Park proposes an urgent meeting with the ruling and opposition parties on North Korea’s nuclear test and the security situation on the Korean Peninsula. We hope that the parties gather at their earliest convenience.”

Cho said she hopes the proposed meeting brings together Hwang Woo-yea, chairman of the ruling Saenuri Party; Moon Hee-sang, head of the Democratic United Party’s emergency committee; Rep. Ahn Hong-joon, who chairs the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, trade and unification; Rep. Jeong Moon-heon, a Saenuri lawmaker and secretary of the foreign affairs committee; Rep. Shim Jae-kwon of the opposition party; Kim Jang-soo, secretary of the transition committee’s foreign affairs, national defense and unification subcommittee; and Rep. Yoon Byeong-se.

"President-elect Park’s perception is that there should be no divide between the ruling and opposition parties as far as national security is concerned, and the rival parties should discuss security situation together,” the spokeswoman said, adding, “(President-elect Park) said this morning, ‘I will have to propose an urgent meeting, and I will discuss (with the ruling and opposition parties).`”

Democratic United Party spokesman Park Yong-jin replied to the offer, saying, “Amid heightened anxiety among the (South) Korean people following North Korea’s announcement of a nuclear test, it is meaningful for President-elect Park to make the proposal.” His party, however, objected to the participation of members of the transition committee’s subcommittee and the secretary of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee.

Jin Young, vice chairman of the transition committee and concurrent chairman of the ruling party`s policy committee, started coordination of views over the schedule, method and participants of the meeting with the opposition party. With the countdown underway for the North’s nuclear test, the meeting is expected to be opened soon.

Gen. Jeong Sung-jo, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday, “If we detect any signs that North Korea will seek to attack with a nuclear weapon, we will launch a preemptive strike even at the risk of war to exercise our right to defend the nation.”

The chairman said this when asked by ruling party Rep. Yoo Seung-min if the South Korean military is determined to block North Korea from using nuclear weapons even by risking a full-scale in a full-member meeting of the parliamentary defense committee Wednesday.

Jeong said, “If the North shows clear signs and has clear intent to use nuclear weapons, it is more important to (preemptively) remove them rather than retaliating after being attacked with them.”

When Yoo warned that chances are high that a preemptive strike on North Korea will escalate into a full-scale war, Jeong responded by saying, “I don’t think that a preemptive strike will necessarily result in a full-fledged war.”