President Moon Jae-in and the floor leaders of five political parties held the first meeting of the regular consultative body on Monday. The ruling and opposition parties agreed on 12 provisions to “work together in a bipartisan manner to ensure fair hiring and promoting reconciliation between labor and management.” The meeting took place under an agreement that the presidential office and political parties reached to hold such a session once every quarter, with the first one to be held after President Moon’s address at the National Assembly scheduled for early November.
“I hear a lot that what our politics lack the most is cooperation,” Moon said at the start of the meeting. “The consultative body should serve as a practical way to cooperate on pending issues and legislations.” Meanwhile, Kim Sung-tae of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party urged the presidential office and the ruling Minjoo Party of Korea to “refrain from making unilateral decisions without prior consultation with the opposition bloc and the National Assembly now that the consultative body has been instituted.”
Since the agreements were made only in principle, there is a likelihood that the parties will clash with each other when discussing details in the future. On Monday, the Justice Party insisted that its opposition to the expansion of a flexible work system and swift deregulation should be stated in the agreement. President Moon reportedly listened to the floor leaders’ views and suggestions, noting them down, and the floor leaders made candid comments about issues for the three-hour-long meeting. However, what is important is implementing the agreements.
President Moon expressed his willingness to push ahead with the administration’s income-led economic policy during his speech at the National Assembly last Thursday. Jang Ha-sung, presidential chief of staff for policy, also said that people will feel the change from the better economic performance from next year. With various economic indicators sending warning signs, however, President should be able to break away from a rigid attitude and heed the opposition’s voices to communicate and reach a compromise.
For the ruling and opposition parties, it is time to display their capabilities to carry out agreements. Now that the consultative body has launched, they need to stay open-minded and stand ready to negotiate. It is foolish to pursue a complete victory in politics. The opposition parties should also take a cooperative attitude before demanding that the ruling party make concessions. A “perfect storm” is apparently on its way, which refers to a formidable economic crisis. All parties need to join hands to revitalize the faltering economy.