Opposition Vows Help In Repairing Economy

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Opposition Vows Help In Repairing Economy

Opposition leader Lee Hoi-chang pledged Thursday to provide bipartisan support to the ruling party so the country can ride out the dire economic situation.

"For the coming year, fixing the economy will require cooperation not only in words but also in action," President Lee of the Grand National Party said in an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo.

"Corporate and financial restructuring is absolutely necessary, but the government and various companies must share the burden with the workers," he said.

Mr. Lee admitted to the opposition's share of responsibility for the economy's downward spiral. The government has been heavily involved in restructuring the nation's economic environment since late 1997, when the financial crisis hit.

"The major errors were made by the the ruling party, but I regret that we, as the majority party, did not inspire confidence among the public," Mr. Lee said.

He added that he will also lend a cooperative hand in politics. Should President Kim Dae-jung create a new cabinet staffed equally by experts from both the ruling and opposition camps, Mr. Lee will suggest a candidate. The president has said that he will reshuffle the cabinet in January.

Responding to the assertion that he is one of the strongest opposition leaders yet in Korea's history, Mr. Lee laughed. "I heard that I was terrible, compared to the the two 'Kims'," he said. Mr. Lee's main opposition party holds the largest number of seats, 133, in the 273-seat National Assembly.

The two Kims he referred to are former President Kim Young-sam and President Kim Dae-jung.

Before they went on to become presidents of civilian governments, the two were democratic opponents of military dictators.

by Chun Young-gi

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