[EDITORIALS]Bipartisan talks good ideaIt is noteworthy that President Roh Moo-hyun is trying to govern the nation through dialogue with the ruling and opposition parties. Before promulgating the act to name an independent counsel to investigate a money transfer to North Korea, Mr. Roh met with opposition leaders. Yesterday he consulted with National Assembly speaker and leaders of political parties at the Blue House about sending noncombat troops to the U.S.-led war against Iraq. Such consultations have opened a new chapter in the history of parliamentary politics. To govern the nation smoothly, the president must hold frank discussions with ruling and opposition leaders. By repeating such practices, symbiotic relations based on competition and cooperation between ruling and opposition groups will take root.
Issues related to North Korea and national security in particular need such bipartisan discussions. That will ease the people’s insecurity and benefit our national interests. The dialogue between Mr. Roh and the National Assembly will put the people at ease. Despite the anti-war sentiment here, Mr. Roh gave public his support for the U.S. war against Iraq. The meeting with ruling and opposition leaders followed, giving an impression that the opposition party was more supportive in passing the bill to dispatch Korean troops. Some ruling party lawmakers are opposing the dispatched troops, thus the president’s efforts to induce such bipartisan cooperation was clearly a way to relieve the people’s uneasiness and to aid national governance.
Mr. Roh should pursue such bipartisan discussions of sensitive issues including the realignment of the United States Forces Korea, redefining the South Korea-U.S. alliance and North Korea’s nuclear aspirations. It is not easy to come up with a bipartisan answer for all issues. But a discussion between Mr. Roh and the opposition leaders will still produce clearer answers. At least such discussion will beget productive results in politics. The government should inform the opposition parties of national security matters as much as it can. A crisis can be an opportunity. Mr. Roh should reinforce our national security based on bipartisan cooperation.