See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

Moon rejects opposition to deal with North

Presidential office rejects opposition claim that Moon’s approval of Pyongyang Declaration violates Constitution.


Written by

Updated: October 25, 2018

Controversy continues to escalate over President Moon Jae-in’s decision to approve a landmark rapprochement agreement with North Korea, with Moon’s office saying that inter-Korean deals are not subject to parliamentary approval under the Constitution.

Following a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, President Moon ratified the agreements he made with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, during his visit to Pyongyang last month. They include plans to implement a series of arms-control measures and inter-Korean infrastructure projects.

Opposition conservative parties cried foul, criticizing Moon for violating the Constitution by ratifying what they saw as “dangerous deals” without parliamentary approval. They warned that the inter-Korean agreement would undermine national security and waste taxpayers’ money.

“President Moon has made a unilateral decision about a constitutional issue that has grave impact on the national security,” Rep. Kim Sung-tae, a floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, told reporters Wednesday.

Cheong Wa Dae fought off claims that Moon violated the Constitution that mandates parliamentary approval for international agreements that place a significant financial burden on taxpayers.

The Pyongyang agreement includes a plan to jump-start the inter-Korean project of connecting roads and railways across the border. It also said the two Koreas will reopen the Kaesong industrial park, an inter-Korean economic venture, and resume tourism at a mountain resort at Kumgangsan.

The presidential office asserted that deals with North Korea do not require parliamentary approval since South Korea’s Constitution does not consider them international treaties signed between sovereign states.

“North Korea is not a state from the perspective of our legal system,” presidential spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom said. “I think there is significant misunderstanding about our legal system. … The argument that we violated the Constitution sounds more unconstitutional.”

According to a 2005 law governing the inter-Korean relations, the relationship between the two Koreas is not one between two sovereign states, but a “special relation that they established temporarily as they move forward the reunification.”

Such a view was applied when the country’s top court made a ruling about the inter-Korean nonaggression agreement in 1991, spokesperson Kim said. The Supreme Court concluded in 1997 that the 1991 deal is not a treaty subject to lawmakers’ approval.

Given the Supreme Court’s past rulings, the inter-Korean deals should be interpreted in accordance with the 2005 inter-Korean relations law, which specifies limitations on the need for parliamentary approval, Kim said.

“The law says there are only two cases where parliamentary approval is required. The first is when it imposes a financial burden and the second is when it creates a law,” Kim said, stressing that neither applies to the Pyongyang agreement.

The debate comes amid the stalemate over the parliamentary approval of the Panmunjom Declaration, which Moon and Kim signed in April during their first summit at the border village inside the Demilitarized Zone.

While the government has submitted a motion for parliamentary approval for the Panmunjom Declaration, opposition parties are refusing to ratify the pact out of concern that it would incur massive burdens for the taxpayers.

Asked why the government had sought parliamentary approval only for the Panmunjom Declaration, the presidential office said the agreement’s financial impact was much more significant than that of the Pyongyang Declaration.

“We need parliamentary approval for the Panmunjom Declaration, as it creates a significant financial burden,” spokesperson Kim said, adding that the government has its own standard for determining what constitutes a significant financial burden.

Cheong Wa Dae has said the Pyongyang Declaration would not create any additional financial burden, as most of the agreement deals with the implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration — for example, holding a groundbreaking ceremony with North Korea for projects to reconnect roads and railways.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: ANN’s Board member Mr Zaffar Abbas, Editor of Pakistan’s Dawn has won the 2019 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protest Journalists.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy

China’s coronavirus fight remains challenging

 Key Party meeting calls for full vigilance in control, prevention tasks to avoid risks. The novel coronavirus epidemic in Hubei province is still complicated and challenging, a key Party meeting concluded on Wednesday as it drew attention to the risks of the epidemic rebounding in other areas. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, presided over the meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in which members listened to a report by the leading group of the CPC Central Committee on coping with the epidemic outbreak and discussed key related tasks. At the meeting, Xi and other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee donate


By China Daily
February 27, 2020

Diplomacy

UN chief hails China’s efforts to contain outbreak

Official urges all countries to ‘do everything to be prepared’ to contain the epidemic. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday praised China’s contribution to the global fight against the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, noting that the Chinese people are making efforts for all of humanity. The UN chief expressed his gratitude to all of the people in China who are sacrificing many aspects of their normal lives to prevent the virus from further spreading, after discussing the outbreak with World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva. Guterres said the decline in the number of new cases in China since the beginning of February is a very good sign, and he expressed the hope that this trend


By China Daily
February 26, 2020

Diplomacy

WHO calls China’s anti-virus effort ‘aggressive, agile’

Control measures taken by the country offered experience in improving the global response to the disease. While the substantial recent slowdown in the spread of novel coronavirus in China is real, and it is now reasonable to restore work activities step by step, health experts warned that risks abound of the virus flaring up again and they cautioned against complacency, the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 said at a news conference after its one-week field investigations in China. “Ambitious, agile and aggressive” control measures taken by China to control the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, bolstered by nationwide solidarity and advanced scientific research, have altered the curve of the outbreak for the better, averted a large number of potentia


By China Daily
February 25, 2020

Diplomacy

Map shows latest tally of Covid-19 cases in Taiwan, Taipei tops list

 After Taiwan reported its first confirmed cases, health authorities finally released on Monday the latest tally of Covid-19 cases in each administrative region, with Taipei being the highest.  More than one month after Taiwan reported its first confirmed cases, health authorities finally released on Monday the latest tally of COVID-19 cases in each administrative region, with Taipei being the highest. An interactive map on the website of Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows the cities and counties where the country’s 28 coronavirus patients currently reside. Marked in red, the capital city has listed sev


By Asia News Network
February 24, 2020

Diplomacy

Asean, China enhance cooperation in response to Covid-19

The Asean Coordinating Council (ACC) and the Asean-China Foreign Ministers met on Thursday in Laos to discuss to how to respond to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The ACC’s special meeting, initiated by Vietnam as Chair of ASEAN, was attended by the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN member countries and the ASEAN Secretary-General. Chairing the meeting, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said the event aimed to implement the ASEAN Chair’s Statement released on February 14 on the bloc’s collective response to COVID-19. Minh said that in the face of the epidemic, ASEAN needed to promote its cohesive and responsive spirit, and intensify co-operation within the bloc and between the bloc and its partners to respond to ch


By Viet Nam News
February 21, 2020

Diplomacy

EDITORIAL: China’s foreign minister to attend special meeting with Asean on virus

China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend a special Asean-China foreign ministers’ meeting in Laos this week to discuss the coronavirus outbreak. China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend a special Asean-China foreign ministers’ meeting in Laos this week to discuss the coronavirus outbreak, which has battered manufacturing and tourism across the region and led to an array of travel restrictions. Mr Wang will co-chair the meeting with Foreign Secretary Teodoro Lopez Locsin from the Philippines, which is the Asean-China country coordinator, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang announced yesterday. The event on Thursday in Vientiane will be attended by other foreign ministers


By The Straits Times
February 20, 2020