S. Korean par­ties hold im­peach­ment talks

Baltimore Sun - - TRUMP TRANSITION - By Fos­ter Klug and Kim Tong-Hyung

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s three main op­po­si­tion par­ties be­gan talks Wed­nes­day to de­ter­mine when to try to im­peach Pres­i­dent Park Ge­un­hye, dis­miss­ing as a stalling tac­tic her of­fer to re­sign if par­lia­ment ar­ranges a safe trans­fer of power.

Park’s con­di­tional res­ig­na­tion of­fer Tues­day came as she faces nose­div­ing ap- proval rat­ings and mas­sive street ral­lies call­ing for her ouster amid a huge po­lit­i­cal scan­dal in­volv­ing her and a long­time shad­owy con­fi­dante.

“The peo­ple of South Korea do not want to en­ter the New Year with Park Geun-hye as pres­i­dent,” Choo Mi-ae, leader of the main op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Party, said at the start of the meet­ing.

“There is only one way un­der our con­sti­tu­tion to halt a term of a pres­i­dent and that’s an im­peach­ment mo­tion.”

The three op­po­si­tion par­ties have pre­vi­ously said they would try to im­peach Park ei­ther this Friday or on Dec. 9, when a par­lia­men­tary ple­nary ses­sion is al­ready sched­uled.

Park said Tues­day that she would re­sign — if par­lia­ment ar­ranges the tech­ni­cal de­tails — in her lat­est at­tempt to fend off im­peach­ment ef­forts and mas­sive street protests amid pros­e­cu­tion claims that a cor­rupt con­fi­dante wielded gov­ern­ment power from the shad­ows.

Park, in a live ad­dress to the na­tion, said she would “leave the mat­ters about my fate, in­clud­ing the short­en­ing of my pres­i­den­tial term, to be de­cided by the Na­tional Assem­bly,” re­fer­ring to par­lia­ment.

Oth­ers said law­mak­ers could shorten Park’s term by se­cur­ing a vote of twothirds of the 300-mem­ber par­lia­ment — the same num­ber of bal­lots needed to get Park’s im­peach­ment mo­tion passed.

Park, in her speech, con­tin­ued to deny ac­cu­sa­tions by pros­e­cu­tors that she col­luded in the crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties of long­time friend Choi Soon-sil, who, de­spite hav­ing no of­fi­cial role in gov­ern­ment, al­legedly had a say in pol­icy de­ci­sions and ex­ploited her pres­i­den­tial ties to bully com­pa­nies into giv­ing large sums of money to busi­nesses and foun­da­tions un­der the con­trol of Choi. South Korea’s Park Ge­un­hye bows af­ter ad­dress­ing the coun­try Tues­day.

YONHAP/EPA

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