In the News – N. Korea denounces S. Korea’s attempt to expel pro-N.K. lawmakers

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In the News – N. Korea denounces S. Korea’s attempt to expel pro-N.K. lawmakers

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) — North Korea has condemned South Korea’s ruling Saenuri Party for seeking to strip two alleged pro-North Korean lawmakers of their parliamentary seats.

“The madcap smear campaign … is nothing but a ‘witch hunt’ of modern version and sordid fascist politically-motivated terrorism,” the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in an English-language statement carried late Thursday by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.

The strongly worded statement came as calls grow in South Korea to expel Lee Seok-gi and Kim Jae-yeon, two lawmakers of the left-wing minor opposition Unified Progressive Party (UPP), from the National Assembly.

Rep. Kim Jae-yeon (L) walks past an anti-North Korea activist near the National Assembly on May 30, 2012. (Yonhap)

The public pressure was caused by widespread concern the lawmakers’ alleged pro-North Korea beliefs could pose a threat to national security, considering their track record.

Both lawmakers were convicted of engaging in pro-North Korean activities in the past and allegedly espoused North Korea’s guiding “juche” philosophy of self-reliance.

The two were also accused of being involved in UPP’s alleged rigged primary designed to select proportional representation candidates for the April parliamentary election.

Lee and Kim have so far refused to quit their seats, prompting the Saenuri Party to propose a joint motion with the main opposition Democratic United Party to strip them of their seats.

An ouster requires two-thirds approval from the 300-member National Assembly and the two main parties have 277 seats combined.

The North’s propaganda outlet also claimed the South Korean conservative party was resorting to intrigues to annihilate progressive forces and “create a situation favorable for the conservative forces’ stay in power before the ‘presidential election.'”

Park Geun-hye, former interim leader of the Saenuri Party and daughter of late President Park Chung-hee, has been leading opinion polls for the December presidential election. President Lee Myung-bak of the ruling party is set to end his single five-year term in February 2013 and is barred by law from seeking re-election.

“It is none other than such pro-U.S. lackeys, anti-reunification confrontation maniacs, fascists and chief culprits of scandals as the group of the ‘Saenuri Party’ that should be eliminated from” the National Assembly, the North’s statement said.

 

Original article can be found here.

In the News – Defense reform bills fail to pass in parliament

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In the News – Defense reform bills fail to pass in parliament

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) — A South Korean parliamentary committee dealing with national defense failed Friday to pass a set of reform bills aimed at bolstering military readiness against North Korean provocations, as the meeting lacked a quorum.

Only six of the minimum nine lawmakers needed to reach a quorum attended the meeting of the National Defense Committee, making it unlikely the bills will pass in the outgoing National Assembly before its term ends next month. The committee has 17 members.

The reform plans centered on making the military’s command structure more efficient, and giving the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff more power to control the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Reforming the military has been one of the government’s top policy goals, especially since North Korea’s two deadly attacks on the South in 2010.

“(We) tried to pass urgent bills such as those related to defense reforms during our final meeting today, but it is regrettable that the meeting could not proceed smoothly due to the aftereffects of the April 11 parliamentary elections,” said Rep. Won Yoo-chul of the ruling Saenuri Pary, who chairs the committee.

The defense reform bills had been pending in parliament for 11 months mainly due to fierce opposition from opposition parties over their possible destabilizing effects.

 

Original article can be found here.