[EDITORIALS]GNP Should Lead, Not Bicker

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[EDITORIALS]GNP Should Lead, Not Bicker

Lee Hoi-chang, president of the opposition Grand National Party and Kim Jong-pil, leader of the United Liberal Democrats, have made joint policy declarations and issued a five-point agreement. The agreement includes requiring parliamentary endorsement of funds given out to the North. The force of the opposition parties is in full swing. The Millennium Democratic Party floor leader warned that if the opposition pushes the amendment of laws governing inter-Korean cooperation funds, retirement age of teachers and broadcasting, the president would exercise his veto power. A political crisis is expected.

How much longer the alliance between the Grand National Party and the United Liberal Democrats will last is questionable, but the opposition's destructive power and control over the Assembly with ten seats over a simple majority is imaginable. One can only guess the difficulties of the minor ruling party, further complicated by the fact that the presidential term is nearly over.

As we are in a difficult situation inside and outside the country, we cannot help but note the weight of the GNP's responsibility. It should lead the government and refrain from exploiting its power as an opposition party in the majority. For example, the extension of the retirement age of teachers that the ruling party floor leader plans to veto should not become another source of conflict. With regard to the provision of aid to the North that was carried out without the endorsement of the National Assembly, it should have been approved first. However, the opposition should not obstruct inter-Korean cooperation.

Fortunately, Mr. Lee pledged support to President Kim Dae-jung in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the United States and President Kim sent the minister of unification to explain to Mr. Lee the outcome of the fifth inter-Korean ministerial talks. Bipartisan cooperation in the area of security is forming, laying the groundwork for a meeting between the leaders of the ruling and opposition camps.

We hope "not an arrogant, but a humble opposition," which Mr. Lee asked of his party's lawmakers, will apply not only in the area of security but also internal politics. The ruling party should exercise politics of cooperation. That is the way for both ruling and opposition parties to survive.
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