Rival Parties Clash over NK Policy
Partisan bickering in the legislature yesterday escalated the controversy at home and abroad over the government's North Korea policy on the occasion of the first anniversary of the inter-Korean summit agreement.
While interrogating Unification Minister Lim Dong-won, a major architect of Seoul's ``sunshine policy'' of engagement toward the North, the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) and the main opposition Grand National Party (GNP) collided over the nature of the policy which has been steadfastly carried out since the inception of the Kim Dae-jung administration in 1998.
Accusing opposition leader Lee Hoi-chang of consorting with U.S. hard- liners in the advocacy of verification in dealing with North Korea, the MDP said the ruling and opposition parties should not spare any effort in achieving a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula regardless of their partisan affiliation.
In contrast, the GNP lambasted the ruling camp over its alleged sinister scheme to exploit the euphoria over rapidly improving inter-Korean relations to hold on to power beyond 2003, when President Kim steps down.
Rep. Kim Hee-sun of the MDP stepped forward to criticize GNP president Lee for trying to rise to power on the back of conservative forces by creating a fresh Cold War structure among the public.
``As Lee has been echoing the principle of verification emphasized by the new U.S government, he seems to put U.S. interests ahead of national interests,'' Lee said. ``But, it's only Lee's wishful thinking that he can become the President by fanning confrontational aspects of the relationship between South and North Korea.''