Summit: A whole lot of nothing

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Summit: A whole lot of nothing

President Park Geun-hye and the leaders of the ruling and opposition parties have met for the first time to seek a breakthrough in the current political stalemate. But the meeting ended without any results.

“There were a lot of questions, but no single right answer,” said Kim Han-gill, chairman of the Democratic Party.

He went back to the tent in front of Seoul City Hall where he has been living, demanding an apology from the administration about the National Intelligence Agency’s alleged Internet smear campaign against the opposition candidate during last year’s presidential election. Hopes that the National Assembly could be opened before the Chuseok holiday on Thursday were dashed.

The National Assembly has been in a stalemate for too long. The administration and the ruling and opposition parties should have used the summit’s momentum to find a breakthrough. Their failure to do so only adds to the public’s disappointment in politics.

The Saenuri Party had a different perspective on the outcome. It said the meeting was arranged for members to exchange views and ease misunderstandings, not to come to some kind of agreement. The meeting hardly could have produced a meaningful outcome from such a lackluster perspective.

The people hoped that the legislature would be normalized before it goes into its holiday break, but nothing has changed because of the summit meeting. No conflicts or misunderstandings have been cleared up. The blame for the meaningless outcomes lies with all three parties.

Even if the previous administration was accountable for the involvement of the NIS in the presidential campaign and the disclosure of confidential records of inter-Korean talks between former leaders Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Jong-il, the president could have expressed some form of regret and apology. If her government is so willing to push ahead with sweeping reforms, she could have made some effort to break the ice with the opposition to provide momentum for the party to stop its protests and return to the National Assembly. Politics cannot work when one party wants to win every time.

The DP cannot go on camping out in front of City Hall. The people no longer want fighters as politicians. They want politicians to work for their interests and needs in the legislature.

The ruling party is largely to be blamed for the impasse. What did Saenuri’s Chairman Hwang Woo-yea do in the summit talks? In the public’s eye, he merely played as an audience member in talks between the president and the DP chairman.

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