(ATTN: ADDS remarks on typhoon damage, African swine fever in last 4 paras)
SEOUL, Oct. 7 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in called on South Korea's political parties Monday to handle bills on reforming the prosecution at an early date, citing what he called a "unified" voice of the people over the issue.
Referring to massive street protests separately by critics of his presidency and supporters in recent days, Moon said he listened to the various opinions of the public "with a grave heart."
It's positive in democracy to have different views, while the deepening of conflicts and political strife is not desirable, he added.
"The people's call, converged as one despite various opinions, is that reforming the prosecution is urgent and desperate, as well as protecting its political neutrality," Moon said during a weekly meeting with his senior Cheong Wa Dae aides.
Both the government and the National Assembly should pay heed to the demand, he stressed. He then urged lawmakers to handle relevant bills, including those on creating a separate unit to specialize in investigating high-ranking officials and giving more investigative authority to police.
Those critical of the Moon administration, mainly conservatives, staged a rally in the central Seoul district of Gwanghwamun last week, calling for the dismissal of Justice Minister Cho Kuk, whose family is under prosecutors' criminal probe. Over the weekend, people who support Moon had another candlelight vigil in front of the headquarters of the prosecution in southern Seoul, claiming that the minister should complete the task of reforming the prosecution.
On areas pounded by a powerful typhoon, Mitag, the president pledged efforts for speedy financial support through designating them as a special disaster zone.
He instructed the government to map out safety measures against the "autumn typhoons" expected to hit the nation more often amid climate change.
Moon also ordered a far-reaching study of ways to counter African swine fever (ASF) and other contagious viruses involving livestock.
Regarding the latest outbreak of the ASF north of Seoul, he said, "The foremost task is prevent its spread to other regions, in particular toward the south."
Defense ministry warns N. Korea will face end of regime in event of nuclear use attempt
(LEAD) S. Korea's Coast Guard apprehends 22 Chinese after illegal entry attempt
N. Korea slams U.S. over Pentagon document calling regime 'persistent' threat
(Asiad) S. Korea beat 10-man Uzbekistan in men's football semis, reach brink of 3rd straight gold
(LEAD) U.S. House votes to remove Speaker McCarthy after pushback over stopgap spending measure
(News Focus) Travis King's release an opportunity for rapprochement in U.S.-N. Korea ties?
DP averts crisis following court's rejection of Lee's arrest; focus shifts to unity
5 years after signing, future of inter-Korean military accord unclear
In desperation, N. Korea, Russia turn to one another for mutual assistance rivaling U.S.-S. Korea cooperation
Yoon seeks to carve out bigger role for S. Korea in Indo-Pacific, world