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(LEAD) President meets political leaders over G-20 outcome, dispute over nominees

All News 14:20 July 12, 2017

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES with reports of the outcome of the meeting; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in met with key political and government leaders Wednesday to explain the outcome of his recent trip to Germany, his office Cheong Wa Dae said, a move also aimed at overcoming the political dispute he now faces here.

The meeting, held over lunch at the presidential office, involved the so-called five key figures next in command that include Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun and Acting Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court Kim Yi-su, who is tapped as the new chief justice.

The other two were the chief justice of the Supreme Court and the head of the National Election Commission.

The meeting came two days after Moon returned home from his five-day trip to Germany for the annual Group of 20 summit, during which he also held a series of bilateral and multilateral talks with nearly a dozen other foreign leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

President Moon Jae-in (third from L) listens to remarks from Yang Sung-tae (fourth from L), chief justice of the Supreme Court, in a meeting at the presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, in Seoul on July 12, 2017. The meeting also involved Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (second from R) and National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun (second from L). (Yonhap)

Prior to his trip to Hamburg for the G-20 summit, the president also made an official visit to Berlin where he held a bilateral summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Cheong Wa Dae earlier said one of the greatest achievements made by Moon during his latest trip was to win the countries' support for Seoul's new North Korea policy of maximum pressure and dialogue for peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue.

Moon explained such a policy to the five local leaders, according to Cheong Wa Dae officials.

However, Wednesday's meeting also came amid an apparent political dispute over some of Moon's minister nominees.

Nearly all minister nominees named so far by the president have faced some opposition, but the opposition parties seem to be especially keen on objecting two designates -- Defense Minister nominee Song Young-moo and Labor Minister nominee Cho Dae-yop.

The president on Tuesday agreed to withhold appointing the two, along with a ceremony for others that have already been appointed, in an apparent attempt to appease the opposition parties.

Three opposition parties, including the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, again boycotted a plenary parliamentary session Tuesday, effectively blocking the government and its ruling party's efforts to legislate a government-proposed bill on a 11.2 trillion-won (US$9.75 billion) extra budget.

Cheong Wa Dae officials have noted the president also wished to meet with ruling and opposition party leaders within the week to explain the outcome of his latest trip.

Such meetings are rather customary following an overseas trip by the president. Still, many believe the meeting, if held this week, will rather serve as an opportunity for the president to personally explain his position over his two controversial nominations and also renew his call on the political parties to quickly approve the government request for the supplementary budget.


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