A nation taken hostage

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A nation taken hostage

President Park Geun-hye has emphatically urged the National Assembly to pass her proposed government reorganization plan as soon as possible. Her desperate appeal is actually aimed at the main opposition Democratic United Party, which still vehemently opposes the plan even after the official launch of the new administration a week ago.

The deadlock in the legislature has left the new conservative government in limbo. If an extra session of the assembly should fail to pass the bill today - the last day of the session - we can hardly expect a successful launch of the new administration. The sharp and boring disagreement between the ruling Saenuri Party and the DUP over the proposed transferring of government oversight over television program providers and system operators to the new Ministry of Future Planning and Science - or to maintain that authority with the Korea Communications Commission - only makes people wonder what difference it will make anyway.

We have argued that it would be reasonable for the KCC to maintain the authority as the commission requires a consensus-based decision for granting rights to new program providers or system operators to respect the independence of broadcast media, as a number of media experts agree. Yet the standoff should not stand in the way of governance of the nation. It’s basically a technical problem, and yet the ruling and opposition parties refuse to compromise on the issue as they regard it as a power game.

President Park clenched her fists in a speech yesterday to put pressure on the DUP and said she would not step back. Though such rhetoric may make her look strong with the public, it definitely restricts negotiating leeway. More important is the president’s will to meet leaders on both sides of the aisle either at the Blue House or National Assembly.

The DUP cannot avoid criticism for the quagmire as it refuses to meet the president, saying that her proposal to move government authority over program providers and system operators to the new ministry is aimed at controlling the broadcast media. During the Lee Myung-bak administration, the DUP raised a similar conspiracy theory. The opposition camp’s argument simply doesn’t make sense.

Amid such fierce brawling between the two camps, our security threat and economic hardships only deepen. The DUP is attempting to bind the hands and feet of the new administration even before it begins to do its job. The Blue House and the ruling and opposition parties must not hold the nation hostage anymore.
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