Across party linesYOON SUNG-MIN
The author is a political news reporter of the JoongAng lbo.
Five floor leaders of the ruling and opposition parties accompanied him on his U.S. visit from July 18 to 22. They met with the U.S. Congress and administration officials to persuade the U.S. Department of Commerce not to apply expanded tariffs on Korean cars and discussed the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula with Stephen Mull, undersecretary of state for political affairs.
Upon returning on July 22, the Bareunmirae Party’s Rep. Kim Kwan-young said it was meaningful for the floor leaders to engage in bipartisan diplomatic efforts.
Ruling Democratic Party (DP) Chairwoman Choo Mi-ae sent watermelons as gifts to the Liberty Korea Party’s emergency committee head Kim Byung-joon and the media. The watermelon came with a sticker that read, “Watermelon for Cooperation.” The National Assembly welcomed the ruling party’s efforts to engage.
However, people cannot help feeling some déjà vu. Cooperation and unity has always been emphasized whenever a National Assembly session opens. Before the 20th National Assembly began in April 2016, the then-ruling Saenuri Party’s spokesman Kim Myung-yeon said, “We’ll work to make people’s lives richer with the politics of cooperation.”
But as soon as the assembly opened, confrontation over the revision of the National Assembly Act began. DP spokesman Ki Dong-min said he was sorry that the 20th National Assembly session began with political strife. When President Moon’s constitutional amendment was submitted to the legislature in March, there were voices within the DP asking whether the cooperation was really about unity.
On top of all the failures, the National Assembly once again promised to work together. The citizens know they are ready to attack one another as soon as their interests change. The politicians must prove their intent with substantial outcomes.
JoongAng Ilbo, July 23, Page 29