[EDITORIALS]Parties must meet in the middle

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[EDITORIALS]Parties must meet in the middle

The talks between the leaders of the governing Uri Party and opposition Grand National Party are likely to fail. The two parties are passing blame between each other for the failure of the talks and are looking for rationales to continue down their own paths. The public’s hope for finding some kind of a breakthrough in the political stalemate has been shattered, and the disappointment of the people is great.
The Uri Party officially announced yesterday the end of the so-called “four-person talks” and said they would go ahead with legislating the four bills.
Uri floor leader Chun Jung-bae said, “This has proved that we can no longer solve [the current stalemate] through rational compromise with discussions and debate.” The Uri Party demanded that National Assembly Speaker Kim One-ki put the National Security Law bill on the floor.
The Grand National Party is also taking a tough stance. Chairwoman Park Geun-hye said, “The four bills are damaging the values of liberal democracy and market economy that South Korea upholds. They will cause incredible harm to our nation later on. If we agree to the bills, then the Grand National Party cannot avoid the responsibility of history.”
The governing and opposition parties must not end their negotiations here. If they were planning to end the talks at this juncture, then there was no need for the four-person talks. Both governing and opposition parties cannot avoid the criticism that they are passing the buck.
Regarding the bill on revising the National Security Law, which the two sides have been acutely opposed on, they have nearly reached a consensus on this issue. Both sides must not lay to waste the efforts they have made so far.
The governing party’s leadership must not be swayed by the hardliners within the Uri Party who demand the abolishment of the National Security Law. If they are swayed by their party members and are unable to find compromise with the opposition, the leaders of the Uri Party will be blamed for lack of leadership.
They must take bold political steps and responsibility for their actions. If they are swept away by hardliner demands, then it will be impossible to hold talks. The opposition must cooperate in other ways, such as passing the bill on extending the deployment of troops to Iraq and the budget bill by this fiscal year.
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