Inter-Partisan Standoff Continues in Spite of President Kim's Apology

Article excerpt

The inter-partisan standoff continues, in spite of President Kim Dae-jung's apology to the opposition for his Millennium Democratic Party's forcible action on a controversial bill Monday, thus keeping the National Assembly in recess.

The main opposition Grand National Party yesterday kept its pressure upon the MDP for an ``unconditional capitulation'' with repeated demands that Rep. Chung Kyun-hwan, MDP's floor leader, apologize for the railroading Monday as a precondition for its return to the House.

The opposition also came up with heavy offensive against the MDP's claim that President Kim's remarks Thursday were not delivered by way of an apology. ``It now turns out that the MDP has no regrets for its forcible action on the bill. As long as the MDP shows such attitude, the GNP cannot cooperate with the opening of anoth r session,'' GNP spokesman Rep. Kwon Chul-hyun charged.

Stung by the GNP's fiery reaction, the MDP shifted to a conciliatory posture yesterday, with Rep. Lee Hae-chan, chief policymaker of the MDP, finally confessing that ``what President Kim said Thursday was an expression of his regrets (for the disruption of the Assembly session).''

The MDP leadership also made further conciliatory gestures to the GNP, with secretary-general Rep. Kim Ok-doo and chief policymaker Lee Hae-chan asking their GNP counterparts for a dialogue.

But, the GNP officials flatly turned down the offer, reiterating that the opposition can return to the House only when the MDP pledges not to take any unilateral actions in Assembly operation and take punitive action for the party's floor leader Rep. Chung Kyun-hwan.

The opposition mounted harsh criticism at Rep. Chung, in particular, by demanding an apology for his allegedly slanderous claim that the GNP had struck a conspiratorial deal with the United Liberal Democrats on the floor negotiation group issue. …