Yoon proposes first-ever meeting with opposition leader

April 19, 2024

President Yoon Suk Yeol called main opposition leader Lee Jae-myung on Friday and proposed that they meet at the presidential office next week, his office said.

Yoon proposed the meeting after congratulating Lee of the Democratic Party and other party members on their win in last week’s parliamentary elections, according to senior presidential secretary for public relations Lee Do-woon.

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)

“The president proposed to Chairman Lee in the phone call that they meet in Yongsan next week if it suits him,” the senior secretary said during a press briefing, referring to the district where the presidential office is located.

“The president said they should first meet and start communication, and in the future meet frequently, drink tea, have meals together and talk by phone and discuss state affairs,” he added.

The DP leader thanked Yoon for the invitation and for “extending his heart.”

“Chairman Lee also said they should be of help to the work of the president,” the secretary said.

The Yoon-Lee meeting, if realized, will be the first such meeting since the president took office in May 2022.

Lee has repeatedly called for talks with the president, but Yoon has shown little appetite for sitting down with his former rival during the 2022 presidential election.

The need to cooperate with the opposition has grown, however, after the DP-led opposition won a landslide victory in last week’s general elections, securing 192 seats versus the ruling People Power Party’s 108 seats in the 300-strong National Assembly.

Lee also won reelection in a district in the western port city of Incheon.

Details of the proposed meeting, including the time and agenda, will likely be coordinated between Yoon and Lee’s aides, a presidential official said.