Assembly plans undramatic August session

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Assembly plans undramatic August session

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Witness seats remain empty yesterday after senior prosecutors ignored subpoenas by a special investigation committee of the National Assembly on the savings banks scandal. They refused to testify on an ongoing probe. By Oh Jong-taek

The ruling and opposition parties agreed on a legislative timetable for the August session, scheduling a National Assembly hearing on the Hanjin Heavy Industries’ labor crisis.

The floor leaders of the Grand National and Democratic parties also agreed to hold voting sessions on Aug. 23, 29 and 31 to approve bills that were passed by standing committees.

“We agreed to pass all the bills that are relatively less politically sensitive during the August session,” said GNP floor leader Hwang Woo-yea.

Conspicuously missing from the timetable was ratification of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement, despite the ruling party and the government’s desire to introduce a resolution for the legislature to ratify the long-pending trade pact.

Speculation was high that the National Assembly would move to ratify the deal this month, especially after U.S. Congressional leaders agreed to clear stumbling blocks to ratification in Washington.

“Because the opposition parties continued to oppose introducing the ratification motion, we agreed to have more negotiations on this matter,” Hwang said yesterday.

The lawmakers on the environment and labor committee will hold a hearing on Aug. 17 to address the labor unrest at Hanjin Heavy Industries, which had prompted major “Bus for Hope” rallies in Busan.

The ruling and opposition parties also agreed to continue discussions this month on how to lower college tuitions.

A special committee devoted to supporting international sports events, including the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, will also be established, they agreed.

The lawmakers also agreed to discuss the necessity of approving a supplementary budget for recovery operations from the damage caused by rains and floods last week.

The ruling and opposition parties also agreed to work on establishing a law to help victims of the latest corruption scandal in savings banks.

Meanwhile, a special investigation committee of the assembly on the savings banks scandal issued yesterday subpoenas to six prosecutors to appear before lawmakers to report on their findings on the scandal. The six included Acting Prosecutor-general Park Yong-suk and Kim Hong-il, head of the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office’s central investigation unit.

The prosecutors have turned down prior National Assembly requests to report about the case, saying their neutrality could be infringed upon if they testify about an ongoing case.

“We have no choice but issuing the subpoenas,” said GNP Representative Chung Doo-un, head of the special committee. “If they continue to refuse, we have no choice but to accuse them of contempt of the National Assembly.”

The prosecutors were ordered to appear by 4 p.m. but they didn’t show. Refusing the order without a sufficient reason can be punished by up to 3 years in prison or a fine of up to 10 million won ($9,370).

It is the first time since 2003 that the National Assembly issued orders to an incumbent prosecutor to testify.


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

17일 한진중 청문회… “조남호 안 오면 고발”

여야 “8일부터 임시국회”

한나라당 황우여·민주당 김진표 원내대표는 5일 국회에서 원내대표 회담을 하고 8월 임시국회를 소집하기로 합의했다. 오는 17일에는 국회 환경노동위원회에서 한진중공업 청문회를 열기로 했다. 당초 한나라당은 고공 크레인 농성자를 퇴거시키는 걸 조건으로 청문회를 수용한다는 방침을 세웠지만 원내대표 회담에서 입장을 바꿨다. 한나라당 핵심 관계자는 “한진중공업 사태가 중요한 사회 문제로 대두되면서 당내엔 청문회가 필요하지 않느냐는 얘기가 나오고 있다”며 “청문회는 한진중공업 노사 간 협상에 자극을 줄 것”이라고 말했다.

 홍영표 민주당 원내대변인은 조남호 한진중공업 회장의 청문회 출석 문제와 관련, “조 회장이 나오지 않더라도 청문회는 열릴 것이며, 만약 출석하지 않는 경우에는 고발 조치할 것”이라고 말했다. 조 회장은 6월 17일 해외 출장 명목으로 출국한 뒤 아직까지 귀국하지 않고 있는 만큼 청문회장 출석을 장담하기 어려운 상태다.

 여야는 5일 대학 등록금을 인하하는 방안도 8일 시작하는 8월 임시국회에서 논의해 처리하기로 뜻을 모았다. 각종 법안을 처리할 국회 본회의는 23·29·31일 사흘간 열린다.

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