President Park Geun-hye has vowed to disband the Korea Coast Guard over its poor handling of rescue operations as the Sewol-ho ferry sank.
In its place, the president wants to create a new government body charged with safety and rescue affairs under the Office of the Prime Minister, which would serve as the control tower in future disaster situations.
Under the plan, the Coast Guard and the National Emergency Management Agency would be absorbed into a new government agency on national safety.
But the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy has already registered its objections to the plan.
Instead, it has proposed keeping the Coast Guard and the National Emergency Management Agency intact and establishing a full-fledged safety-related ministry.
It also suggested the National Security Council under the presidential office become the control tower of all disaster and safety related issues, instead of the prime minister's office.
Under the NPAD plan, the Coast Guard and the National Management Emergency Agency would still be responsible for safety issues, including rescue work at sea and on land.
The party is also calling for a removal of the Coast Guard's authority over investigations and intelligence-gathering on land.
However, the ruling Saenuri Party is unlikely to give in to the NPAD's demands.
It says the opposition's opinions will be heard, but that more weight must be given to the government's plan.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News.
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