Updated July. 02, 2012 00:06
Main opposition leader Lee Hae-chan on Sunday demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik over the maligned bilateral intelligence sharing treaty with Japan.
The Korean government is reeling from a backlash to the fiasco over the agreement, whose signing was suspended 50 minutes before the official ceremony.
Critics are even demanding the dismissal of Prime Minister Kim given that the government faced strong condemnation for its behind-the-scene dealing at a Cabinet meeting, and the diplomatic gaffe and national embarrassment stemming from the sudden cancellation of the signing ceremony.
Lee, chairman of the main opposition Democratic United Party, said, Unless President Lee Myung-bak dismisses Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, we will submit a motion to dismiss Kim at the National Assembly. The chairman indicated that since Kim presided over the Cabinet meeting Tuesday last week, which deliberation on the problematic treaty was held in secret, he should be held accountable.
Lee Hae-chan made the comments while receiving presidential chief of staff Ha Kum-loul, who paid a courtesy call at the party leader`s office in the National Assembly.
It is a serious problem that the government failed to report anything to the National Assembly, but sought to give access without restriction to military facilities and intelligence in seeking to forge a military intelligence treaty with a country that invaded our nation in the past, Lee Hae-chan said. In a news briefing afterwards, the chairman said, In addition to the prime minister, the foreign affairs and defense ministers should also be held accountable.
On the demand to dismiss the prime minister and the other two ministers, Lee Han-koo, floor leader of the ruling Saenuri Party, told a news conference at party headquarters, The Democratic United Party has repeatedly demanded dismissals in the past, and the ruling camp cannot afford to respond every time.