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The National Assembly has remained idle for 80 consecutive days. Speaker Kim Hyong-o released a statement that sounded like an ultimatum urging the Assembly to open.

He called a regular session for 2 p.m. today. He said that unless an agreement between the ruling and opposition parties is reached, he will hold a general meeting and open Assembly doors by virtue of his office.

His grim statement is mainly due to the fact that the resolution he made with representatives from floor negotiation groups on Aug. 11 is not being obeyed.

The revision to the Act on the Prevention of Contagious Animal Diseases is the major culprit. The opposition Democratic Party changed its position one day after the agreement, saying, “Unless the revision is accepted, we won’t enter the Assembly.”

In this regard, the Democratic Party should take the blame for failing to normalize the Assembly. They should be held responsible for breaking the agreement signed by both representatives and the speaker.

The speaker asked, “Who will trust politics and respect the Assembly if an agreement is overlooked and signatures become invalidated?”

The Democratic Party should form a group in the Assembly as agreed. They should attend the Assembly session today to revise the Assembly Act and appoint a chairperson for the permanent committee. The Act on the Prevention of Contagious Animal Diseases can be discussed later within the boundaries of the Assembly. For legislators to make it a precondition for opening the Assembly is a huge mistake.

Second, the revision of the Act on the Prevention of Contagious Animal Diseases is not a good idea. If we revise it, it will undermine the fundamentals of the Korea-U.S. beef negotiations. If we violate the provisions of the negotiations when we revise the law, it is natural that the U.S. will take it before the World Trade Organization. Experts say that we will likely lose if sued.

It might lead to a fall in Korea’s national credit rating and retaliation. Our country, which is highly dependent on external trade, is not strong. Korea has no choice but to observe international trading orders and transaction practices according to WTO standards.

The Democratic Party revealed neglect for dialogue and compromise. Its members should pay more attention to the speaker’s appeal when he says, “It is time to end the politics that overlooks the public.”
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