[EDITORIALS]Meet the opposition, Mr. Roh

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[EDITORIALS]Meet the opposition, Mr. Roh

It has been more than three months since the April 15 legislative elections took place, but we do not hear any reports that the Blue House is engaged in dialogue with the opposition parties.
All the Blue House did was to invite Democratic Labor Party members to a dinner. Its meeting with the Millennium Democratic Party was postponed because of the killing of Kim Sun-il in Iraq. It seems it never has plans to meet with the Grand National Party, the largest opposition party.
Even though the governing Uri Party holds a majority in the National Assembly, it will not be able to work properly if it neglects the opposition.
A meeting between the president and the opposition leaders, of course, is not a panacea. Still, that does not mean that a meeting would be useless. When the nation is divided like this, it would be a process of harmony for political leaders to meet and exchange opinions. If a meeting generated some sort of consensus, it would be a considerable solace and hope for the public.
The nation’s division is at a serious level. The dispute that the military failed to report properly to the Blue House about a North Korean ship’s recent infringement of the Northern Limit Line is one such example. The administration and ruling party say that the military engaged in false reporting to the president, the supreme military commander, while the opposition and some in the military resist, saying, “Does the administration regard the military as an obstacle to inter-Korean relations?”
The rift between the Blue House and the security related ministries has became so wide that each side suspects the other’s motives. Society is heavily divided according to political ideology, and opposing what the other side says becomes routine. On such issues as the troop dispatch to Iraq, the role of the Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths and the administrative capital relocation, we are no longer able to engage in a rational discourse to search for a solution.
Things should change now. President Roh Moo-hyun should heed the advice of a professor: “What is most necessary for President Roh at the moment is leadership through arbitration ― persuasion and dialogue ― and through that leadership he will have to try to revive the economy.”
Just at the right time, as Park Geun-hye has been reelected the Grand National Party’s leader, Mr. Roh has good reason to meet with her.
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