SEOUL, Rival parties on Tuesday bickered over President Moon Jae-in's proposal that party leaders join in his upcoming trip to North Korea.
Presidential chief of staff Im Jong-seok proposed Monday that the chiefs of five parties and the parliamentary leadership travel together with Moon when he visits Pyongyang next week for his third inter-Korean summit.
But parliamentary leaders, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party (BP) rejected the invitation. The ruling Democratic Party (DP) and two minor parties expressed their willingness to join.
The DP denounced the LKP and the BP for opposing bilateral cooperation for peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, describing the move as politically motivated.
"It is nonsense that (the opposition parties) have rejected an invitation that was made six days before the summit as an attempt full of impoliteness and political intentions," Rep. Hong Young-pyo, the floor leader of the DP, said at a meeting of party officials.
"I ask for bilateral cooperation for peace, rather than behavior based on political calculation," he added.
But the LKP and the BP expressed displeasure at the presidential office's failure to seek consultation with opposition parties prior to Im's public announcement.
"It was very surprising and displeasing that the presidential chief of staff unilaterally announced the proposal to the press," Sohn Hak-kyu, the chief of the BP, told a radio program.
"President Moon should open the path toward North Korea's denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula through intense diplomacy and calculation. The summit should not be a (political) show," he said.
The minor progressive Justice Party, which welcomed the invitation, said that Cheong Wa Dae should have sought prior consultations with opposition parties in a sophisticated manner.
"The presidential office needs to ask for the parliamentary leadership to travel to the North once again," Lee Jeong-mi, the chief of the party, said.
"If that is difficult, under the agreement of speaker Moon Hee-sang, those who could represent the National Assembly should join the trip to push for discussions over a potential inter-Korean parliamentary meeting," she added.
Source: Yonhap News Agency