President Moon Jae-in and chairpersons of five political parties will gather for a meeting at Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday afternoon to discuss ways to navigate Japan’s trade regulations.
The chairpersons are Lee Hae-chan of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, Hwang Kyo-ahn of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, Sohn Hak-kyu of the minor conservative Bareunmirae Party, Chung Dong-young of the minor opposition Party for Democracy and Peace, Sim Sang-jeung of the progressive Justice Party. Chief secretaries and spokespersons of each party will also attend.
Cheong Wa Dae aides and Cabinet members, including presidential chief of staff for policy Kim Sang-jo and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki, are also expected to join.
Moon and party floor leaders had met at the presidential office in November last year.
From left: Justice Party leader Rep. Sim Sang-jeung, Party for Democracy and Peace leader Rep. Chung Dong-young, Bareunmirae Party leader Sohn Hak-kyu, Liberty Korea Party leader Hwang Kyo-ahn and Democratic Party leader Rep. Lee Hae-chan attend a ceremony to mark the 71st Constitution Day at the National Assembly on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Thursday’s meeting comes as the government and top conglomerates scramble to come up with contingency measures in the face of Japan’s trade restrictions on key tech materials.
Japan’s latest move is widely interpreted as retaliation against the South Korean top court’s ruling in favor of victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor.
“This meeting is (the first to be) held in a year and four months, and one that comes at an important time. All parties must work together for the country and the public,” said Democratic Party Chairman Lee Hae-chan, referring to Moon’s last meeting with chairpersons of the five parties, in March last year.
Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn also emphasized the urgent need to find solutions.
“The meeting at Cheong Wa Dae has be a pivotal moment in state affairs. … With tensions escalating surrounding Japan’s economic retaliation, political leaders have to share wisdom with an open-mind and come up with practical solutions,” said Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn.
The National Assembly has faced a monthslong impasse over reform bills fast-tracked in May and the main opposition party’s intensifying attacks against the Moon administration.
Experts say an agreement stressing the importance of cooperation across the aisle to resolve the trade issue could be reached, alongside the formation of a special parliamentary committee.
The supplementary budget and electoral system reform could also be discussed at the meeting.
By Kim Bo-gyung (email@example.com