SK Democrats to Draft New Livelihoods Legislation

South Koreas Democratic Party (DP) has
announced that it will draft legislation designed to address North Korean human
rights.

Earlier today,
incumbent party chair Kim Han Gil announced,
The Democratic Party,
which holds democracy and human rights as its supreme values, is confronting
the North Korean human rights issue. Preparations for a
North Korean Human Rights
and Livelihoods Act
to improve the human rights and livelihoods of North Koreans will take place at the
Party level.

Kim announced the plan at a press conference, going on, Even though our legal
jurisdiction doesn’t extend to the North, meaning that it is severely limited, we
are turning our ongoing interest in this matter into the
North Korean Human Rights
and Livelihoods Act
.

We were happy to hear the President [Park Geun Hye] call unification the
jackpot,
he went on, referring to President Parks comment during a press
conference last week. However, he cautioned that the DP seeks
only a
gradual, peaceful unification, and that an abrupt
“absorption” arising out of sudden change in the North would be a
calamity.

A unification that is unprepared would throw the Korean Peninsula into a
state of enormous confusion,
he warned. The government must show
the people how the process of unification will be created over time.
 

North Korea policy can no longer be an excuse for divided public
opinion,
he concluded. Above all, our diplomacy, including
circumstances in Northeast Asia, must begin with the task of resolving tensions between North and South.

The Democratic Party
has long opposed 
the Saenuri PartyNorth Korean Human Rights Act,” partly on the basis that it incorporates financial support for non-governmental groups whose activities generate public displays of annoyance from Pyongyang, such as flying leaflets across the DMZ suspended from balloons. As a result of this, in addition to the proclivity on all sides for using the “North Korean Human Rights Act” as a bargaining chip in other political areas, the act has been stuck in South Korea’s legislative framework for almost a decade.
This is not the first time that the DP has put forward the idea of introducing competing
legislation.

The DP is currently extremely unpopular in South Korea, with an approval rating lower
than that of both the ruling Saenuri Party and a hypothetical party led by
independent lawmaker Ahn Cheol Soo, the founder of Internet security company
AhnLab. 
In a recent poll
carried out by Research & Research for the Seoul-based Asan Institute for
Policy Studies, the Democratic Party registered just 10.3% support, against
35.7% for the Saenuri Party and 22.3% for a hypothetical party led by Ahn.
 

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