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Assembly manages to condemn Pyongyang

Oct 12,2006
The National Assembly yesterday managed to pass a resolution condemning North Korea’s announced nuclear test, but not until after several delays and rounds of bickering between the two major parties in the legislature.
The final resolution “strongly deplores” the “unpardonable” nuclear test, urges North Korea to “abandon nuclear weapons and all related programs” and calls on Pyongyang to return to the stalled six-party nuclear disarmament talks and to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. North Korea renounced the treaty in 2003 and expelled international monitors at its nuclear site in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang.
The resolution also calls on the Roh administration to cooperate closely with other nations in coping with the crisis that resulted from the nuclear test Monday.
The measure was passed by a vote of 150 in favor, 18 opposed and 16 abstentions. Only 184 of the 299 members of the National Assembly were present for the vote.
But before the Assembly acted, it had to overcome a series of impasses. The conservative Grand National Party had initially demanded that the resolution call for an end to the Mount Kumgang tourism project and the closing of the Kaesong Industrial Complex; President Roh Moo-hyun’s Uri Party refused, blocking committee action on the resolution Wednesday.
Yesterday afternoon, the measure arrived at the floor after committee approval earlier in the afternoon. But another spat, this time over a rebuke by the speaker to the Grand National Party for coming to the Assembly chamber an hour late, further delayed action on the measure.
But the conservatives were unrepentant. Kim Yong-kap, a hardliner on the North, growled disgustedly, “We always make an odd decision at the last moment.” The GNP floor leader, Kim Hyung-o, was more pragmatic. “We abandoned our pride,” he said, “considering the international community’s attention.”
Separately, the Democratic Labor Party’s spokesman, Park Yong-jin, announced yesterday that the party’s leadership would make a five-day trip to Pyongyang beginning Oct. 31. Mr. Park said an invitation arrived from Pyongyang on Monday and that the leadership decided to accept it “after a marathon session.”


by Lee Ka-young, Chun Su-jin


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