SEOUL, Opposition parties prevented a parliamentary committee deliberating on a government motion for the ratification of the April inter-Korean summit agreement on Thursday.
The government on Tuesday submitted the proposal for ratification of the so-called Panmunjom Declaration signed by President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after their summit on April 27.
The committee on foreign affairs and unification held a meeting Thursday, but failed to review it due to objections by the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and the minor Bareunmirae Party (BP).
The summit deal should be passed by the committee before it is put up for a vote at a plenary session.
"If the National Assembly ratifies the agreement, it would be effective in demanding North Korea take sincere actions. That's why we asked to put the deal up for a vote ahead of a key summit," Rep. Lee Soo-hyuck of the ruling Democratic Party (DP) said.
But the LKP and the BP rejected the move, citing an agreement by ruling and opposition parties to handle the proposal after the summit, which will be held in Pyongyang from Sept. 18-20.
"We had expected that the government would take time to submit the deal as the parties agreed to discuss the ratification after the summit, but it hastily submitted it amid controversy," Rep. Cheong Yang-seog of the LKP said.
"An important reason why the National Assembly is reviewing the proposal lies in gauging the public's fiscal burden. But the government is calling for ratification irresponsibly after poorly estimating the cost of implementing the deal," he said.
Attached to the ratification proposal, the government submitted an estimated cost of implementing part of the summit agreement next year amounting to 298.6 billion won (US$264.8 million).
The LKP and the BP denounced the government for intentionally concealing what could be an astronomical amount of money needed to implement the summit deal.
Source: Yonhap News Agency