Bareunmirae Party gets behind summit deal

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Bareunmirae Party gets behind summit deal

The floor leader of South Korea’s third-largest party proposed adopting a resolution on Thursday to support an inter-Korean agreement prior to its ratification.

In a speech before the National Assembly, Kim Kwan-young of the Bareunmirae Party called for bipartisan cooperation in ratifying the Panmunjom Declaration signed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during their first summit in April.

He proposed adopting a resolution as a realistic first step amid a deadlock in denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea.

“The Bareunmirae Party will adopt an active attitude toward President Moon Jae-in and the ruling party’s request for parliamentary ratification of the summit agreement and their hope to show the world South Korea’s strong will to denuclearize North Korea,” Kim Kwan-young said.

“But there is also the need to take into account some opposition parties’ concerns that the ratification could drive a wedge in the Seoul-Washington alliance,” he warned.

On Wednesday, Moon sent a special envoy to North Korea to fine-tune details of a third summit with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang and advance stalled negotiations on the North’s nuclear arsenal.

Moon Hee-sang, the National Assembly speaker, had proposed ratifying the Panmunjom Declaration before the president’s trip to Pyongyang as a gesture of good will. Lawmakers had failed to adopt a resolution in May because they differed on the wording with respect to North Korea’s denuclearization.

“I hope that the ruling and opposition parties will discuss ratification in earnest after adopting the resolution,” Kim Kwan-young said. “This needs bipartisan cooperation.”

As the floor leader of a minority party, Kim also called on the National Assembly to reform the electoral system this year and adopt a mixed-member proportional representation system that would give more seats to smaller parties. Under such a system, the number of seats that each party receives in the legislature is tied to the percentage of votes that it gets.

“Within this year, we need to introduce the mixed-member proportional representation system to better reflect voter sentiment,” Kim said, adding that the legislature should also introduce a system that allows people to dismiss lawmakers through a referendum when they are deemed unfit for the job.

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