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Opposition leadership: ‘Pres. Park needs to visit U.S. as scheduled’

Opposition leadership: ‘Pres. Park needs to visit U.S. as scheduled’

Posted June. 10, 2015 08:24,   


With MERS outbreak continuously wreaking havoc in Korea, controversy is mounting over President Park Geun-hye’s schedule to visit the U.S. (June 14–19). The ruling Saenuri Party’s leadership has clarified its stance, saying, “We will respect the president’s decision,” but a growing number of younger lawmakers of the party are demanding postponement of the visit. In the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, majority say, “The visit should be postponed,” but its floor leader Lee Jong-geol claimed that the president should visit the U.S.

Meeting with reporters on Tuesday, Saenuri Party Chairman Kim Moo-sung commented on Park’s schedule to visit the U.S., saying, “I think it is a matter that should be decided by the presidential office,” adding, “I think the presidential office and the foreign affairs ministry are collecting opinions from various walks of life over the issue.” Asked what his own opinion was, Kim said, “I have no special thought” in avoiding giving a specific answer.

When asked whether he conveyed the party’s view to the presidential office, Saenuri Floor Leader Yoo Seung-min said, “I have not,” while making it clear that it is a matter that should be judged by the presidential office. However, the view urging a cautious approach that calls for adjusting the schedule for her U.S. visit after monitoring situation of MERS outbreaks within the ruling camp is reportedly being conveyed to the presidential office.

In a radio interview on the day, NPAD’s former Floor Leader Park Jie-won said, “Diplomacy is important, but it is desirable that the president either cancels or postpones the U.S. visit at a time when people are anxious, especially due to the government’s error.” Its Floor Leader Lee Jong-geol gave a differing view, however, saying, “Relationship with the U.S., the biggest ally, is truly important. Only if the president has sympathy that she shares pain and anxiety with the public, why would we oppose her visit to the U.S.? People adequately understand her situation.”

A source at the presidential office said, “The president will be able to either visit as scheduled, cancel or adjust the schedule only after monitoring MERS situation until Thursday,” leaving open various options.