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KORUS FTA battle coming in April general election

The Hankyoreh

KORUS FTA battle coming in April general election

Rival politicians who clashed on free trade set to go head to head in Gangnam

16 February 2012

By Lee Tae-hee

Democratic Party lawmaker Chung Dong-young and former Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon had a number of face-offs during the final National Assembly debates just prior to the railroading of the South Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement ratification in October. Now the two men, who battled each other from the two extremes on the KORUS FTA issue, may be facing off once again for Seoul‘s Gangnam-B seat in April’s general election.

Chung has already announced his intent to run, while the Saenuri Party is currently mulling a nomination for Kim.

Kim has said he is ready for a battle. Speaking in an interview Wednesday with the Buddhist Broadcasting System, he responded to a question about a face-off with Chung by calling the Democratic Unity Party lawmaker “someone who opposed the KORUS FTA very strongly.”

“The voters are making a balanced determination [about the KORUS FTA], and I think it would be meaningful if there is some role I can perform,” Kim said during the interview.

In a telephone interview with the Hankyoreh, Chung said, “I think it will be good to have a real battle between the major players in the FTA battle.”

“In that sense, it would be good to have [Saenuri Party emergency measures chairwoman] Park Geun-hye coming out herself,” Chung added, suggesting he was interested in tackling an opponent from an even higher weight class.

Both candidates would have to get through their party races first. Chung looks set to face proportional representation lawmaker Jeon Hyun-heui, while Kim has to get past party rivals such as former Cheong Wa Dae (South Korea‘s presidential office, or Blue House) senior secretary for civil affairs Chung Tong-ki, who has already thrown his hat into the ring, and former National Police Agency commissioner Huh Joon-young.