Yoon, opposition leader to hold first-ever meeting Monday

April 26, 2024

President Yoon Suk Yeol and opposition leader Lee Jae-myung will meet at the presidential office next Monday, an official said, their first sit-down since Yoon took office two years ago.

The meeting will take place over tea at 2 p.m., with both Yoon and Lee of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) accompanied by three aides each, Hong Chul-ho, senior presidential secretary for political affairs, said during a press briefing.

This compilation image shows President Yoon Suk Yeol (L) and Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung. (Yonhap)
This compilation image shows President Yoon Suk Yeol (L) and Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung. (Yonhap)

“We hope this meeting will serve as an occasion to revive people’s livelihoods and the economy and solve various pending state affairs through candid discussions between the president and the opposition leader,” Hong told reporters at the presidential office.

Yoon proposed a meeting in a phone call with Lee last Friday, after the ruling People Power Party was routed in the April 10 parliamentary elections, leaving the National Assembly under the control of the DP.

The two sides struggled to coordinate the meeting’s agenda in two rounds of preparatory talks held earlier this week, but reached an agreement on the date during a third round of talks Friday after Lee said he would meet with Yoon unconditionally.

The DP had initially delivered a list of requests, which included accepting Lee’s general election pledge to hand out 250,000 won (US$182) each to the entire population to help restore their livelihoods, accepting a special counsel investigation into the death of a Marine last year and an apology from Yoon for vetoing a number of DP-led bills.

The Yoon-Lee meeting has been scheduled for one hour, but could last beyond that if they decide to talk for longer, Hong said. The two sides will likely announce the outcome separately.

Yoon’s three aides will be his new chief of staff Chung Jin-suk, Hong and senior presidential secretary for public relations Lee Do-woon, Hong said. The opposition leader will be joined by his chief of staff, the DP chief policymaker and the DP spokesperson.