Top Korean lawmaker seeks to pass peace pact

Top Korean lawmaker seeks to pass peace pact
Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa.

South Korea's parliamentary speaker has voiced a strong desire to pass a resolution marking the 70th anniversary of World War II's end at Seoul's National Assembly by June, as the first step toward joint resolutions with the US and China.

Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa, 67, also stressed the need to improve inter-Korean ties this year as President Park Geun-hye's unrenewable five-year term nears its halfway point.

"The parliamentary resolution will celebrate the relative stability that Northeast Asia has enjoyed in the 70 years after World War II," Chung said during an interview with The Korea Herald at the main parliamentary building in Seoul on April 22.

"There was the Korean War, but South Korea, China and Japan were able to improve their respective economies over the past seven decades," the five-term lawmaker added.

Chung has proposed making the World War II resolution two-way with the US and China, by writing separate joint statements with the US Congress and China's National People's Congress.

Chung pitched his idea to US lawmakers during a visit there last month, and to Zhang Dejiang, the NPC Standing Committee chairman, during a stay in China last December.

"Mr. Zhang expressed his support for the idea, and the joint resolution (with China) is under preparation. Mr. Zhang will visit South Korea in June, so I hope to get the resolution done by then," Chung said.

Rep. Ed Royce, the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee chief, had likewise welcomed the idea of writing a joint US-South Korea resolution on the 70th anniversary of World War II's end, Chung added.

"Rep. Royce liked the proposal, but he urged us to write our version first, so that the US Congress could add their own words to our initiative," Chung said.

South Korea's top lawmaker added that the Washington-Seoul resolution would be finalized sometime later this year, when President Park is expected to visit the White House.

Chung will propose a similar resolution to Japan's Diet.

Chung, a neurosurgeon-turned-politician, has been trailblazing in diplomatic efforts to enhance ties with tricky neighbours and upgrade Seoul's foothold in the international arena.

He served as the assembly's deputy speaker from 2010 and 2012, before winning the parliament's top post last May. Chung, a fifth-term lawmaker, left the Saenuri Party in accordance with assembly laws that ban the speaker's party affiliation.

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