DUP calls for PM to resign over Japan pact

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DUP calls for PM to resign over Japan pact

The main opposition’s leader publicly condemned the prime minister and demanded his resignation for secretly attempting to sign a controversial military agreement with Japan.

Lee Hae-chan, the chairman of the Democratic United Party, yesterday said that he will demand Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik “take responsibility” for his plan to sign an unprecedented military information trade agreement with Japan through behind-the-scenes maneuvers, without reporting it to the National Assembly.

“The contents of the agreement and the procedure of railroading it as an urgent bill are both problems,” Lee said at a meeting with Ha Kum-loul, Blue House chief of staff, yesterday. “The prime minister should take responsibility for the matter, and unless the president dismisses him, the National Assembly can’t avoid proposing a resolution of nonconfidence against Kim.”

South Korea and Japan were in the process of signing an agreement to share classified military data for the first time since Japan’s colonial ruling ended in 1945. But facing public protests, Korea’s Foreign Ministry made a last-minute call to postpone it.

“The diplomatic relationship between Korea and Japan is a special one due to Japan’s occupying of Korea,” Lee said. “It’s a serious problem to try to give such a country [Japan] access to confidential information about our military facilities, without making a single report to the National Assembly.”

“The foreign minister and the defense minister, who are under the Prime Minister’s Office, should also take responsibility for this,” Lee said.

Lee Yong-sup, the chief policy maker of the DUP, attacked the ruling party for initially agreeing to the military pact then changing its position later.

Lee Hahn-koo, Saenuri’s floor leader, said that they won’t respond.

“It’s not the first time that the DUP demanded a resignation,” Lee told reporters yesterday at a press conference.

By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]
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