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Cheong Wa Dae official hints at giving up extra budget, keeping nominees

All News 15:24 July 12, 2017

SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- A ranking official from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Wednesday hinted at giving up efforts to win the parliament's support for an extra budget bill, a move apparently aimed at keeping the president's two controversial nominees for new ministers.

President Moon Jae-in has repeatedly urged the opposition-led parliament to approve the government-proposed bill on the 11.2 trillion won (US$9.77 billion) supplementary budget.

Cheong Wa Dae official hints at giving up extra budget, keeping nominees - 1

He, however, has also noted the importance of timing.

"Should the government bill get delayed until August, it means it will not be at least until October when the extra budget can actually be executed," the presidential office told reporters, while speaking on condition of anonymity.

"In that case, the significance of the extra budget" cannot but disappear, the official added.

The remarks came one day after the president agreed to withhold appointing his two new ministers -- Defense Minister-nominee Song Young-moo and Labor Minister-nominee Cho Dae-yop -- who the opposition parties strongly object.

The parliament missed its second and last deadline on Monday to issue reports on the outcome of their confirmation hearings held earlier in the month.

The president could have legitimately appointed the two, but agreed to wait "a few more days" at the request of his ruling Democratic Party, which stressed the need to amend ties with the opposition parties, especially amid its efforts to enact the government bill on the extra budget.

Still, the opposition parties continue to refuse even holding discussions on the appointments, let alone the extra budget, boycotting the plenary session of the parliament on Tuesday.

The last plenary session of the ongoing extraordinary parliamentary session is scheduled for next Tuesday.

"If the bill on the extra budget is not passed on July 18, it will be delayed until August. It will be very regrettable because the extra budget is all about timing," the Cheong Wa Dae official said.

Another official earlier said an extra budget will be nearly "meaningless" unless the budget bill is passed before the end of July.

Regarding the appointment of the two disputed minister nominees, Cheong Wa Dae officials said no decision has been made.

Still, they said the president remains firm on the principle about the appointment of new ministers, which is he may do so without the parliament's approval or endorsement.


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