Party seeks dismissal of S. Korea PM

July 17, 2012 at 11:35 AM
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SEOUL, July 17 (UPI) -- South Korea's main opposition party Tuesday called for dismissal of Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik over the government's handling of a military pact with Japan.

The Democratic United Party's motion came after the party's chairman, Lee Hae-chan, said he would call for Kim's dismissal unless President Lee Myung-bak apologized for the secretly approved deal and dismissed Kim, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The motion, which was signed by all 127 DUP lawmakers, will be discarded unless it's put to a vote within 72 hours.

Endorsement of the motion would require 151 of 300 lawmakers to vote in favor of it. Yonhap noted the ruling Saenuri Party has 149 seats; the DUP, 127; the minor opposition Unified Progressive Party, 13; and another minor party and independent lawmakers, 11.

DUP lawmaker Park Jie-won said Tuesday the intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan should be "immediately scrapped."

"The government deceived the people and the National Assembly," Park said in a regular parliamentary speech. "The defense and foreign ministers came to me in May and promised [the agreement] would be subject to discussion at the National Assembly. [The government] tried only to hide it not only the day before it was secretly approved but also on the day itself."

Amid public criticism of the deal with Japan, South Korea's former brutal colonial ruler, Seoul has put off signing the agreement.

A government investigation found officials handling the issue tried to rush to have the deal signed before the end of June under an agreement with Tokyo, and the two countries agreed to make a public announcement on the intelligence-sharing deal only after the signing, Yonhap has reported.

Kim and Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan have apologized for "procedural flaws" in the signing process.

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