Party leaders commit to new talks on Sewol law

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Party leaders commit to new talks on Sewol law

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Saenuri Chairman Kim Moo-sung, left, and Rep. Moon Hee-sang, right, the interim leader of the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, have a meeting yesterday at the National Assembly. [NEWSIS]

Leaders of the ruling and opposition parties agreed yesterday to resume talks to narrow down differences on the terms of the special Sewol law, the first move in days that reignited hopes that a third bipartisan deal on the law may be reached, kicking parliament back into gear.

In a 20-miunte talk yesterday between Saenuri Chairman Kim Moo-sung and Rep. Moon Hee-sang, the interim leader of the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), at the National Assembly, the two agreed that they would urge the floor leaders of each party to restart talks on the specifics of the law and arrange a parliamentary schedule.

The veteran lawmakers both acknowledged the importance of restoring bipartisan politics and bringing an end to the virtual shutdown in the National Assembly.

Their meeting came four days after Moon, a five-term lawmaker, was tapped to lead the main opposition’s emergency committee, which is still staggering from the internal feuds that nearly drove out party floor leader and former interim Chairwoman Park Young-sun.

Since taking the helm, Moon has repeatedly pledged that he will work to normalize parliament and produce an outcome from the Sewol law negotiation with the ruling Saenuri Party that would be acceptable to the bereaved families, many of whom lost teenage children in the sinking. His leadership will inevitably set the course for the party until it holds a general convention early next year to elect a party leader and its supreme council members.

Yesterday’s meeting was seen as a hopeful sign that the National Assembly would soon get back to legislating dozens of bills that have been tabled since the start of the political feud.

By explicitly stating that the two floor leaders from each party will resume negotiations, Moon also gave back some sense of empowerment to Rep. Park, who was on the verge of leaving the party following calls by her fellow lawmakers that she resign.


BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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