PPP Leader Urges Passage of Safety Bill to Prevent Events Like Itaewon Crowd Crush

SEOUL — The leader of South Korea's ruling People Power Party (PPP), Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon, urged opposition parties on Monday to support a pending safety bill designed to prevent future incidents similar to last year's crowd crush in Itaewon, which resulted in 159 deaths.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Kim made the call for support during a party meeting, just one day after a large-scale event commemorated the first anniversary of the tragedy. The disaster took place during Halloween weekend in the bustling nightlife district of Itaewon. Kim emphasized that the primary responsibilities of the government and political parties should be to safeguard the public through "prompt response to crises based on thorough preventive measures, early identification of risks, and swift cooperation among relevant agencies."

The bill in question is a revision to the Framework Act On The Management Of Disasters And Safety, proposed by the government last year. The proposed legislation focuses on obliging local governments to devise safety plans for events that do not have organizers.

Kim criticized the delay in the bill's passage, stating that if the opposition Democratic Party (DP) has no intention of using the tragedy for political gain, "there is no reason for the law's passage to be postponed for such a long period of time."

The main opposition, the Democratic Party, however, has been resisting the bill's passage. The DP argues that those accountable for the Itaewon tragedy have not been sufficiently held responsible and has called for a separate bill to initiate a special investigation into the incident.

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