Parties cut a deal on grilling of chief of staff

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Parties cut a deal on grilling of chief of staff

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Lawmakers Cho Won-jin, left, of Saenuri and Kim Hyun-mi, right, of New Politics Alliance for Democracy, begin negotiations over the scope of a parliamentary probe into the Sewol disaster yesterday in the National Assembly. [NEWS1]

After a round of difficult negotiations, the ruling and opposition parties yesterday agreed to include the office of the chief of staff of the Blue House, led by Kim Ki-choon, on a list of government bodies to be probed in the aftermath of the Sewol ferry disaster.

Under the accord reached yesterday afternoon, which originally was made yesterday morning but had to be re-discussed after some lawmakers raised objections, the National Assembly will summon heads of the office of the Blue House chief of staff and the National Intelligence Service for questioning in the investigation.

But the investigation document won’t specify the name Kim Ki-choon and will instead describe him as “head of the office” - which is the result of a compromise suggested by the head of the ruling Saenuri’s investigation committee yesterday afternoon.

The opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy was insisting the chief of staff should be questioned while the Saenuri Party opposed the idea.

The document containing the plans and the list of government officials to be summoned was finalized yesterday and a plenary session late at night was set to vote on the document. The committee did not offer other specifics about it as of press time.

The families of the victims of the April 16 sinking that left nearly 300 dead and missing have been closely monitoring the proceedings at the assembly. A relative at the assembly building in Yeouido, western Seoul, said he would not leave until the assembly’s investigation begins.

“We would have headed toward the Blue House if the ruling and opposition parties failed to reach a compromise,” he said.

BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]



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