Democrats: Minister of unification must quit

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Democrats: Minister of unification must quit

The Democratic Party called for the dismissal of Minister of Unification Hyun In-taek yesterday, saying the minister was an “obstacle” to the unification of North and South Korea.

“Minister Hyun In-taek has cut off dialogue between the two Koreas for two years and six months and ruined our core businesses like the Kaesong Industrial Complex and Mount Kumgang tourism to push back the prospects for unification by 100 years,” said Park Joo-sun, a DP lawmaker.

The DP’s call came a day after the Ministry of Unification rejected a request by a special committee on inter-Korean affairs to visit the North. The committee, of which Park is a member, had planned to visit the Kaesong complex.

The committee’s request was made on Aug. 17 to speak with workers at Kaesong and gather opinions on the current status of the joint industrial complex and inter-Korean relations.

Had the ministry approved the request, it would have been the first time South Korean citizens were allowed to visit the North since the government adopted its hard-line North Korean policy on May 24, 2010.

The South Korean government currently only allows those involved in humanitarian affairs with the North to cross the border.

The ministry has maintained that it will be consistent in its policies, explaining the reason for denying the committee’s request.

Hyun, who has been minister since 2009, has kept a hard-line stance on North Korea. He criticized the North this week after it decided to unilaterally dispose of South Korea’s assets at its Mount Kumgang resort.

The ministry has also been careful not to show any softening toward North Korea, confirming this week that it was not considering inter-Korean family reunions for the upcoming Chuseok holiday, a tactic formerly used to ease tensions with the North.

Hyun had been expected to be replaced in May in a cabinet reshuffle but ended up staying, with the Blue House believing that a change could lead to misunderstandings in North Korea about the South’s policies.

The DP announced yesterday that it would submit a bill on Monday to push for Hyun’s dismissal.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [연합]
민주 "현인택 해임건의안 내주 제출"
민주당은 자유선진당, 민주노동당, 진보신당 등 야당 공동으로 오는 29일 현인택 통일부 장관 해임 건의안을 제출하기로 했다.

민주당 홍영표 원내대변인은 26일 브리핑에서 "통일부가 국회 남북관계발전특위가 여야 합의로 한 특위 의원들의 개성공단 방문 신청을 불허한 것은 국회의 정당한 업무 수행을 저지한 것이자 헌법 정신을 심각하게 훼손한 것"이라며 이같이 밝혔다.

그는 "현 장관은 재임 2년 6개월 동안 남북관계의 안정적 관리에 실패하고 남북 간 긴장을 고조시키는 등 헌법과 법률에 규정된 통일부 장관의 역할을 전혀 수행하지 않았다"고 지적했다.

또 "선진당을 제외한 다른 야당은 이미 해임안 제출에 찬성했고 선진당은 29일 의원총회에서 결론을 내기로 했다"며 "선진당이 찬성 당론을 정하지 않아도 반드시 건의안 발의 정족수인 99명을 채울 것"이라고 덧붙였다.


앞서 국회 남북관계발전특위 위원장인 민주당 박주선 최고위원은 이날 확대당직자회의에서 특위의 방북 신청 거부를 비판하며 현 장관 해임건의안 제출을 제안했다.

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