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(LEAD) Ruling party slams opposition campaign chief for rejecting talks on small biz support

All News 17:18 December 09, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES paras 6-7; ADDS more info in paras 9-10, photo)

SEOUL, Dec. 9 (Yonhap) -- The ruling Democratic Party (DP) on Thursday slammed the main opposition party's campaign chief for refusing to hold talks over his own proposal to spend 100 trillion won (US$85 billion) to support small business owners and self-employed people hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DP criticized Kim Chong-in, the campaign chief of People Power Party (PPP)'s presidential nominee Yoon Suk-yeol, for stepping back from an idea he floated for the government to allocate 100 trillion won to compensate damages of small business owners suffering from the pandemic.

Kim Chong-in, the campaign chief of People Power Party (PPP)'s presidential nominee Yoon Suk-yeol, speaks at a party meeting at the National Assembly on Dec. 9, 2021. (Yonhap)

Kim Chong-in, the campaign chief of People Power Party (PPP)'s presidential nominee Yoon Suk-yeol, speaks at a party meeting at the National Assembly on Dec. 9, 2021. (Yonhap)

"Kim's retreat over 100 trillion won support makes small merchants who desperately need compensation cry again," said Rep. Koh Yong-jin, a chief spokesperson of the DP. "If he was to back out irresponsibly just after one day, we are wondering why he spoke out to suggest such an idea."

DP Chairman Song Young-gil on Wednesday welcomed Kim's proposal and offered a four-man meeting, which includes floor leaders of both parties, to discuss ways to realize his idea.

But Kim declined the meeting, saying that his proposal is not a negotiation subject with the DP and that it is just one of measures that the PPP campaign is considering if Yoon gets elected.

DP presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung questioned Kim's sincerity and the PPP's stance.

"Are they making a threat that they will not carry out if they lose the election or just alluring people by saying they will do it after getting the votes?" he said.

Lee has been suggesting the government to fully compensate small merchants and the self-employed people suffering from the pandemic.

He demanded the PPP and Yoon come to the negotiation table to discuss detailed support measures and ways to fund the compensation.

"Even if we spend 100 trillion won, it is still insufficient compared to what other countries have done," he said. "If they really have empathy for the urgency of small business owners and the self-employed, I urge them to begin discussion on the issue at the provisional session of the National Assembly this month. I will be waiting for Yoon's answer."

Lee Jae-myung, the presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party, speaks at a press conference at the National Assembly in Seoul on Dec. 9, 2021. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Lee Jae-myung, the presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party, speaks at a press conference at the National Assembly in Seoul on Dec. 9, 2021. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr
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