[EDITORIALS]Economic 'Campout' a Good Sign

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[EDITORIALS]Economic 'Campout' a Good Sign

Government officials and economic policy teams of the Millennium Democratic Party and Grand National Party have decided to gather for a two day sleepover conference. The word on the street is that they have decided to focus on economic issues without political wrangling. The goal of the conference is to narrow differences in assessing the causes of the nation's dwindling economy before another economic crisis hits the country.

Their intentions seem sincere; they have decided to change the venue and the date of their gathering since the original schedule was picked up by the press. Needless to say, such a move is a refreshing change from the endless political bickering we have seen.

The three parties will be fielding their top economic brains, and it will be hard to iron out the differences in the three groups' approach to the challenges of snowballing national debt, the crisis at the Hyundai Group, the sale of bankrupt Daewoo Motor and raising a supplementary budget in fall. But to the disillusioned and wary public and the private sector, the two-day assembly will be psychologically reassuring.

But for the gathering to bear fruit, the parties should proceed with a few rules in mind. First, the government representatives should not withhold documents detailing the nation's economic situation, so that the gathering can produce constructive criticism and alternative measures. The ruling and opposition camps should put aside party and political interests to allow for supra-partisan discussion.

The two camps should be prepared to listen to each other. The informal setting, we believe, will also lead to frank discussion among the three parties because the participants know each other very well.

To date, these kinds of gatherings have ended with a whimper rather than a bang, because the participants approached them as a grandstanding platform. If the three parties return to bickering and finger-pointing, the event would be rendered futile.

First steps are never satisfactory. But this meeting holds the promise that maybe policymakers can act as a catalyst in achieving politics of cooperation by providing more of these venues where the warring camps can come together, and politicians and government officials can meet halfway on their differences.

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