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Ruling and opposition parties still remain divided on spy agency reform bill

Updated: 2013-12-30 AM 11:59:42 (KST)
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Despite marathon talks between the floor leaders of the rival parties over the weekend, the ruling and opposition parties failed to reach an agreement on the bill to reform the nation's spy agency.
As the two sides are still divided on key issues, it seems the reform bill for the National Intelligence Service, along with the budget proposal for next year, won't win parliamentary approval within this year.
So, concerns are rising that the National Assembly will have to draw up an unprecedented provisional budget, as the main opposition Democratic Party has hinted that it will not support the 2014 budget proposal if the ruling Saenuri Party rejects its demands on the NIS reform bill.
Then what issues remain?
The DP wants the bill to include a legal clause that bans a NIS information officer from having regular access to government offices.
DP leader Kim Han-gil emphasized the party will not accept the bill unless their requests are met, and will fight to attain their demands.

"As the leader of the Democratic Party, I make it clear that our party will never be dragged along by what the Saenuri Party wants."

The Saenuri Party has turned down the DP's request, saying the two sides have already made a tentative agreement to include a provision that bans an NIS information officer from illegally gathering intelligence.
In particular, the ruling party criticized the DP for trying to link the passage of the budget proposal with the NIS reform bill.

"The DP is saying that, if you don't give us this, we won't give you that. This kind of strategy is not how a normal political party should behave."

Although the floor leaders of the two parties resumed their talks Monday morning, it remains unclear as to whether the two sides can actually come to an agreement on the sticking points.
Eoh Jin-joo, Arirang News.

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