The Korea Herald


Aides fail to coordinate agenda for Yoon-Lee meeting

By Yonhap

Published : April 25, 2024 - 21:48

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President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) and Democratic Party of Korea Chair Rep. Lee Jae-myung (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) and Democratic Party of Korea Chair Rep. Lee Jae-myung (Yonhap)

Aides to President Yoon Suk Yeol and opposition leader Lee Jae-myung held their second meeting Thursday to coordinate the agenda for what would be the first-ever meeting between Yoon and Lee, but failed to reach an agreement, both sides said.

Yoon proposed the meeting in a phone call with Lee last Friday, after the ruling People Power Party was routed in the April 10 parliamentary elections, leaving the National Assembly under the control of Lee's Democratic Party (DP).

Thursday's preparatory talks were held between Yoon's senior political secretary Hong Chul-ho, political secretary Cha Soon-oh, Lee's chief of staff Cheon Jun-ho, and DP political and planning chief Kwon Hyuk-ki. The first meeting was held Tuesday but produced no result.

"We proposed holding the meeting as soon as possible in a free format without need for advance agenda coordination or agreement, so that (Yoon and Lee) can have various discussions without being restricted by the agenda," Hong told reporters at the presidential office after meeting with the DP side.

"The president and the opposition leader should be able to freely discuss any topic related to government affairs, including urgent matters related to people's livelihoods," he said.

Cheon, however, stressed the need for the Yoon-Lee meeting to produce results and expressed regret that the presidential office did not make suggestions to that effect.

Cheon also told reporters the presidential office did not respond to the DP's list of requests delivered during the first round of talks, which included accepting Lee's general election pledge to hand out 250,000 won (US$182) each to the entire population to help restore their livelihoods, accepting a special counsel investigation into the death of a Marine last year and an apology from Yoon for vetoing a number of DP-led bills.

"(The presidential office) did not give us a detailed opinion based on a review of the agenda we proposed," Cheon said. "If we proceeded with the meeting after they informed us of the result of their review of the agenda, there would be results, but it's regrettable we weren't able to do that."

The DP plans to hold internal discussions on the outcome of Thursday's talks and deliver its stance to the presidential office, after which the two sides are expected to schedule a third meeting.