Ratify FTAPresident-elect Lee Myung-bak and President Roh Moo-hyun agreed to join forces to make sure that the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement will be ratified in the National Assembly next February. It is the only policy issue they reached an agreement on during their dinner at the Blue House on Friday.
Lee said, “History will evaluate Korea highly because it was brave enough to take the lead in standing up to the U.S. market, even though it is a relatively small country situated between two superpowers -- China and Japan.”
Lee also praised the strong determination that President Roh showed in driving forward trade agreement negotiations. Roh responded that they should vow to help each other in making it possible to ratify the agreement next February.
But there is a huge political gap between the incumbent president and the president-elect; now that they are in a different political situation, and before a new government is launched, drastic changes are expected in many fields.
So it would be meaningful if the two leaders agree to cooperate with each other in terms of the National Assembly’s ratification of the agreement.
They hold the same understanding that the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement is an urgent national task, one that will create a better future for the country. It goes far beyond the simple takeover of a new administration.
Now that the president-elect and the incumbent president are committed to cooperating together with the view of achieving the successful ratification of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement, it is the legislators’ turn to decide the agreement’s destiny.
As we are well aware, there’s a big possibility that February’s National Assembly will serve as the final session of the incumbent legislators. During the runup to the April general elections, lawmakers will be eager to toss the bill into the next term of the National Assembly, if possible.
In particular, lawmakers wishing to run for election in rural areas may face more obstacles than any others in agreeing to ratify the bill.
In fact, there are some lawmakers who object to ratification. However, if they are truly entitled to serve as lawmakers standing for all the Korean people, they should prioritize national interest, rather than minority interests in smaller areas.
The National Assembly is where impending national affairs, not civil complaints from local districts, are dealt with on behalf of the entire nation.
The ratification of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement is a historic national task that the 17th National Assembly should deal with as a representative of the entire Korean people.