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Pres. Park, parties` leaders open gate to cooperation and communication
JULY 11, 2014 07:08  
President Park Geun-hye`s meeting with the floor leaders and chief policymakers of the ruling and main opposition parties produced more results than expected. The meeting was meaningful at least just because main players in state affairs sat down together for talks. Unlike the president`s meeting with opposition leader Kim Han-gil in September last year, the atmosphere is said to have been amicable this time.

It is said that Park Young-sun, floor leader of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), showed a positive reaction to the president`s proposal to hold the five-way meeting on a regular basis. On top of regular meetings between the rival parties` floor leaders and chief policymakers, the five-way meeting involving the president stokes up hopes of win-win politics. We hope that once the ruling Saenuri Party elects its new leader at next week`s convention, he will soon sit down with the president and opposition leaders as soon as possible.

At Thursday`s meeting, the NPAD floor leader asked the president to reconsider her nominations for new education and culture ministers. President Park reportedly responded by saying, "I understand and will see what I can do." After the NPAD floor leader conveyed concerns over embattled Prime Minister Chung Hong-won`s stay on his job, the president asked for the opposition party`s understanding, noting that it was difficult to find a perfect candidate for new prime minister. The president also reportedly said that she believes Chung will push ahead with measures with sincerity because he is well aware of the venue of April`s deadly sinking of the ferry Sewol. While the president has the right to make nominations for key government posts, she needs to pay attention to the opposition party`s opinions if they make sense.

After floor leader Park proposed to lift South Korea`s sanctions on North Korea to make a breakthrough for inter-Korean dialogue, the president said she will do so within allowed boundaries, offering to work with the opposition party to prepare for reunification with the North. Regarding various domestic economic issues, including reducing people`s living expenses and creating more jobs for younger generations, President Park asked the opposition`s floor leader to quickly handle various bills for post-Sewol measures, including a government organizational reform, and for boosting the sluggish economy.

Before us lie the daunting tasks of ending the widespread insensitivity to safety and do away with various irrationalities caused by collusive links between the bureaucracy and businesses. We also have to reinvigorate the sluggish economy and improve people`s living standards. The fact that the president and the ruling and opposition parties showed the possibility of communication and cooperation gives the public expectations for politics and hopes for a better future. The president and the rival parties should not abandon such expectations.

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