DUP’s disgraceful act won’t standThe opposition Democratic United Party and United Progressive Party announced recently that they sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama demanding that 10 contentious clauses in the recently approved free trade agreement be renegotiated. The parties also threatened to cancel the pact if they win a majority in the April legislative elections.
The main opposition DUP also warned that it could nullify the deal if it gains governing power in the presidential election in December. The free trade deal was first signed in 2007, revised in December 2010 and finally approved by the U.S. Congress last October. Despite resistance and protests from the opposition camp, the ruling party unilaterally ratified the deal in November.
But the opposition has gone too far by publicly informing the president of another country that it will cancel a signed and stamped deal if given the chance. This not only goes against the national interest but also undermines international norms and the democratic order.
The Korus FTA - which, ironically, was initiated by former President Roh Moo-hyun, whose legacy the DUP pledges to uphold -is both necessary and inevitable to sustain the domestic economy, and numerous polls showed that the majority of Koreans support it. But the party and other, more radical opposition forces have rallied against it and even occupied the National Assembly to disrupt proceedings. Despite their claim that the deal has been railroaded and is therefore invalid, there is no question surrounding the legitimacy of the pact. For it to be considered defunct, many other bills that have passed through the legislature by virtue of the majority party’s sole endorsement must also be deemed illegal.
The opposition’s threat to reverse the legislation is not just diplomatically insensitive but comes across like a threat to the U.S. It also undermines the credibility of Korea’s governing powers by suggesting that any deals struck with other nations are highly unstable.
If the opposition is elected and follows through with its threat, who would trust Korea as a diplomatic or business partner?
The DUP may be seeking to exploit the trade deal as part of its campaign strategy, but the public will not tolerate such disgraceful moves that may end up isolating the country.
Given the obvious importance of public support, the opposition parties may like to reflect on their own best interests and those of the country as a whole.