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(Yonhap Editorial) Long-awaited meeting between Park and opposition
SEOUL, April 10 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye will meet with the leadership of the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) over dinner at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Friday amid economic and security crises.

   North Korea has been issuing threats on a near-daily basis as part of its typical brinkmanship, ranging from nuclear and missile attacks to a declaration of war against South Korea and the United States and the closure of a cross-border factory park in the North Korean town of Kaesong.

   The country's economy is as bad as the finance ministry lowered its projection for this year's economic growth to 2.3 percent in March from 3 percent it predicted in December.

   Under these circumstances, the Park-DUP leadership meeting, the first of its kind since her inauguration in February, is indeed a bit of good news for the people who have long been disgusted with dead-end confrontations between the ruling and opposition camps.

   It is hoped they will be able to work out a "security agreement," among other things, under which they cope with North Korean threats in a bipartisan way.

   They should jointly declare a steadfast will to sternly deal with any North Korean provocations under the same view that the North's recent step to shut down the Kaesong complex and move to launch missiles are grave provocations that threaten security in Northeast Asia as well as peace on the Korean Peninsula.

   Such a security agreement will surely be instrumental to restricting North Korean provocations, albeit in part.

   Apart from the security issues, the two sides should also make a vow to improve people's livelihoods as the economy is knee-deep in a prolonged economic slump.

   It's very affirmative that DUP leader Moon Hee-sang said, "We are willing to aggressively join hands with (the government) as far as the people's livelihoods and security are concerned."

   The meeting should come up with detailed bipartisan agreement on follow-up steps to a recently announced package of measures to revitalize the moribund real estate market and formulate an extra budget to prop up the troubled economy.

   In addition, the gathering should serve as a turning point to revive the "politics of dialogue."

   It is hoped that Park will squarely recognize that the reason her current approval rating lingers in the 40-percent range is because of her political manner which the opposition camp has harshly upbraided as "high-handed," "one-sided" and "uncommunicative."

   It's remarkable that Park recently pushed for a series of meetings. She met ruling Saenuri Party leaders the previous day and parliamentary leaders earlier in the day in an apparent bid to improve communication with them and seek their support for her policies.

   Park is known to have said during a meeting with the ruling party leaders, "(I'll) try to listen to the party as much as (I can) on all affairs from now on."

   Park will also have to restart relations with the opposition party, with which she has been at loggerheads on almost every issue since her inauguration.

   On its side, the DUP should wholeheartedly cooperate on state affairs which are directly linked to national interest and security. It should present proper alternatives, while abandoning its "blind opposition" politics and moving past its defeat in the December presidential election.

   People ardently wish the upcoming meeting will be a venue for the rival parties to join hands for the sake of national interest under the ongoing economic and security crises.
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