End the situation quicklyOur politicians broke their promise again. Despite their vows to pass President Park Geun-hye’s proposed government reorganization bill, lawmakers reneged. The leadership of both the ruling Saenuri Party and main opposition Democratic United Party announced on Sunday that they had agreed to pass the bill at a plenary session of the National Assembly on Wednesday - 21 days after the launch of the new administration and 47 days after they began discussions on the issue.
We welcomed the lawmakers’ decision, albeit a belated one. But before the ink has even dried, they returned to old-style bickering over interpretations of the agreement.
The core of the dispute is twofold. One involves a disagreement over whether preliminary approval by the independent Korea Communications Commission is needed when system operators of cable networks want to change their business content. Both sides had agreed that the new Ministry of Future Planning and Science retains the right to permit system operators to begin their business and that it needs preliminary approval from the KCC.
Now, the ruling party argues the new ministry should have approval rights even when system operators change their business content as well, while the DUP argues otherwise. Both parties also are fighting over the jurisdiction for terrestrial networks. The ruling party contends it’s under the jurisdiction of the new ministry, but the opposition insists the matter should be handled by the commission.
Even though the disputes in question were not covered in the agreement, both parties had agreed to follow the reorganization bill proposed by the ruling party when it comes to issues beyond their agreements. So the DUP’s opposition is quite erratic. If the party opposed it because of liberal groups’ pressure, that’s a classic case of penny-wise and pound-foolish behavior. At the same time, the ruling party cannot avoid accountability, as it failed to demonstrate deft stewardship in the fight for the legislation.
The chaos has gone beyond a permissible level. Amid the ever-growing nuclear threat and cyberterrorist attacks, Kim Jang-soo, nominee to head the pivotal National Security Office, is still doing his job as a civilian because of the delayed passage of the government restructuring plan. Hyun Oh-seok, candidate for deputy prime minister for economy, and Kim Byung-kwan, nominee for defense minister, are still in limbo due to the shameful gridlock in the Assembly. The lawmakers must put the dangerous situation to an end as quickly as possible. That’s an order from the people.