Opposition Leader will have 'Heart ot Heart' with President Park at Blue House
SEOUL, Nov. 14 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye will hold bilateral talks with the main opposition party leader early this week, her office Cheong Wa Dae said Monday, raising hopes for the easing of a political crisis sparked by a corruption scandal involving her close confidante.
Park will hold the meeting with Choo Mi-ae, the leader of the Democratic Party, on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. at the presidential office.
Early in the morning, Choo made an overture to Han Gwang-ok, the presidential chief of staff, to hold talks over the ongoing political deadlock.
The proposal followed the weekend's massive rally in downtown Seoul that called for Park's resignation. The Democratic Party, along with other opposition parties, joined the rally where organizers said some 1 million citizens gathered.
"I am seeking a chance to talk heart to heart with President Park to discuss public sentiment and find solutions (to the current political deadlock)," Choo said during the party's decision-making Supreme Council session.
Choo added that scenes of students taking to the streets with the entire nation concerned about the current political turmoil have been "weighing heavily" on her mind.
There has been a yawning gap between the two sides over how to bring the nation, gripped by the political scandal, back on track.
The largest opposition party has demanded that Park publicly declare she retreat from state affairs, a move to make the president a ceremonial head of state. But the presidential office has indicated that Park will exercise her lawful authority enshrined in the Constitution, such as her control over the armed forces.
The minor opposition People's Party expressed displeasure over the planned meeting, criticizing Choo for proposing the talks when the opposition camp has yet to craft a coordinated stance over how to cope with the political turmoil. The party has called on Park to give up her ruling party membership and bow out as president.
The ruling Saenuri Party positively responded to the planned talks between Park and Choo.
"We hope that the talks would provide a clue to solving the political deadlock," Yeom Dong-yeol, party spokesman, said.
Meanwhile, the prosecution plans to question Park as a "witness" on Tuesday or Wednesday in a face-to-face format over her possible involvement in the corruption scandal linked to her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil, who has been charged with abuse of authority and attempted fraud.
The probe will mark the first time a sitting South Korean president will face a formal prosecutorial investigation.'