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(LEAD) Opposition head makes first visit to JCS

All News 13:18 June 08, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS photo, detail in last para)

SEOUL, June 8 (Yonhap) -- Kim Chong-in, the leader of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea, visited the headquarters of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) on Wednesday as part of the liberal party's drive to highlight its commitment to national security.

It marked the first time that the head of the main opposition party paid a call to the JCS.

Earlier this month Kim, the interim leader, also visited a Marine Corps division located near the border with North Korea amid heightened inter-Korean tensions.

"The visit aims to show the Minjoo Party is not only interested in the quality of life, but in national security as well," a party official said, adding it will do similar activities throughout June.

June is a month of remembrance to honor those that have died for the country.

The main opposition has been making efforts to appease conservative and non-affiliated voters, especially as the presidential election falls next year. In the past the Minjoo Party and all liberal parties have been perceived as being more interested in "left-leaning" economic policies and less inclined to take a firm stand against North Korea and on military issues.

The tension between the two Koreas has been rising this year after Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test in January and the firing of a long-range missile the following month.

Seoul shut down the Kaesong Industrial Complex in the North's border city of the same name in February in response to the test. While conservatives cheered the decision, the opposition parties have been critical of President Park Geun-hye for ending the last viable economic link between the two Koreas.

Kim, meanwhile, declined to comment on the possible deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery in the country, adding that the issue is still part of discussions between Seoul and Washington. Supporters of the opposition have generally not been supportive of the THAAD deployment claiming it could further fuel tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

colin@yna.co.kr
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