Domestic summit source of discord

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Domestic summit source of discord

The Blue House and the largest opposition party yesterday continued to spar over a plan to hold a leaders’ meeting as the Democratic Party insisted on having a one-on-one summit between its chairman and the president.

Through her new chief of staff, Kim Ki-choon, President Park Geun-hye offered Tuesday to meet with the chairmen and floor leaders of the ruling and opposition parties jointly. The proposal was in response to the Democratic Party’s earlier request that its chairman Kim Han-gill meet with Park.

The Democratic Party yesterday turned down Park’s offer to have a five-way meeting, reminding the president that its chairman wants a one-on-one.

“On Saturday, Chairman Kim proposed to meet alone with Park,” Noh Woong-rae, Kim’s chief of staff, said yesterday. “Kim thought it is appropriate for the president and the chairman of the largest opposition party to sit down and find a resolution to the ongoing political deadlocks.”

Noh said it was a shame Park came back with the five-way talk idea three full days after Kim’s proposal. “Kim wants to propose a one-on-one meeting with Park once again,” Noh said.

Noh reminded Park about her meeting with President Roh Moo-hyun in 2005 when she was the chairwoman of the Grand National Party. “At the time, Park proposed the talk and Roh welcomed it,” Noh said. “We wonder how Park would have reacted to Roh if he came back with a similar counteroffer. The proposal of the five-way meeting is an act of looking down on the head of the opposition party.”

Representative Jun Byung-hun, floor leader of the DP, also expressed his displeasure toward the Blue House’s proposal. “It displays rudeness toward the opposition,” he said.

“We proposed a meeting to discuss the pending issues in this country,” said Min Byung-doo, DP’s chief strategist. “But the Blue House came back with a counterproposal to discuss pending issues in the legislature to reduce the significance of this meeting.”

The Blue House said yesterday it has no intention of accepting Kim Han-gill’s offer. Kim Ki-choon, the presidential chief of staff, said yesterday that it was a shame that the DP chairman turned down Park’s proposal for a five-way meeting.

“We believe it is desirable for the leaders to meet and discuss pending issues to better serve the people,” Kim, Park’s chief of staff, was quoted as saying by Lee Jung-hyun, the senior public relations secretary. “The Blue House will wait with its door open.”

The ruling Saenuri Party also urged the Democrats yesterday to accept Park’s plan.

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