[EDITORIALS]Getting to know youPresident Roh Moo-hyun will meet soon with party leaders and the speaker of the National Assembly. The Blue House announced that President Roh has invited the leaders of the legislative branch to explain to them the outcome of the six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue now underway in Beijing. This is different from the usual meetings between governing and opposition party leaders held in previous administrations, but the format and justification for the meeting should not matter as long as they can stop the fighting and hold face-to-face talks on wide-ranging issues pending in our society.
The meeting has been set after President Roh made a proposal based on the one recently offered by Chairman Choe Byung-yul of the opposition Grand National Party. So for the first time in two months since he assumed leadership of the opposition party, Mr. Choe will sit down for talks with the president. Both should take this rare opportunity to get to know each other. Also, the more of these meetings are held the better it is for the country; just by showing that the president and the leader of the largest party in the Assembly can meet frequently to tackle the issues would heal many social ills.
In order for such a relationship to develop, the president should first show that he respects the National Assembly. He has not demonstrated an eagerness to do that when, early in his administration, he decided to dispatch non-combat troops to Iraq and in his dealings on the 40-hour workweek. It would be better if he made clear to the legislative leaders whether he wants a working relationship akin to the style of the U.S. government or means to bypass the National Assembly and appeal to civic groups and voters directly to govern.
The Grand Nationals say they want to help revive the economy; now they can prove it. We have serious problems, and the opposition leader should offer sincere advice to the president. It is time to stop the exhausting war of nerves. The president and leaders of the legislature should show wisdom by using this meeting as a forum for building trust between them.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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