[EDITORIALS]A Welcome Policy MeetingJin Nyum, the economic deputy prime minister, and Lee Nam-kee, head of the Fair Trade Commission, have scheduled a meeting with the opposition Grand National Party's policymakers, including Kim Mahn-je, the chief policymaker, on Wednesday. Although the ministers asked the opposition to cooperate in implementing administrative policies, such a formal meeting to explain those policies is unprecedented. The meeting is important because it is to include the easing of controls on large business groups.
Like the policy coordination meeting between the government and the ruling party, calling this meeting another policy coordination meeting with the opposition party does not sound awkward. The opposition party is careful of characterizing the meeting because the public may think that its president, Lee Hoi-chang, is showing off his power as if he were already president. The government also explained that the meeting is nothing more than ordinary consultations with the National Assembly.
Regardless of what we call the meeting, the management of state affairs is changing rapidly after President Kim Dae-jung resigned as the chairman of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party. The meeting with the opposition should be valued as an effort to adopt changes in national governance. Now, cooperation with the ruling party no longer guarantees the government smooth implementation of policies. The opposition party lacks only one seat for a National Assembly majority; it knows it has to change its attitude to reflect its legislative dominance. With elections coming up, the GNP wants to be seen as leading policy-making.
Policy coordination with the opposition is a new experiment by the president. As is the case with all experiments, there are risks, and in order to minimize them, the opposition party should not abuse its power. The opposition party should fine-tune policies and propose alternatives.
The government should use the meeting to invigorate its policy-making and avoid exploiting party differences. The government and the opposition should promise bipartisan national governance with a priority on stimulating the economy and improving Koreans' livelihood.