Political parties agree to reopen parliament, resolve vulgar insult made to president

SEOUL, July 13 (Yonhap) -- Political parties agreed Saturday to reopen parliamentary proceedings that have been suspended over a row triggered by a insult leveled at President Park Geun-hye by an opposition lawmaker.

At a meeting attended by senior members of the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), both sides concurred to end the standoff and move forward with plans to hold a special meeting to discuss the parliamentary probe on public medical infrastructure and the review of classified documents related to comments made by late President Roh Moo-hyun on the de facto sea border between the two Koreas at a summit meeting in 2007.

The special meeting is set to take place at 4 p.m., while lawmakers plan to visit the National Archives of Korea on Monday to read the actual records of the summit meeting that has become the center on intense political clashes.

The conservatives claim that Roh effectively "gave up" the demarcation line that has been defended with South Korean lives, while liberals counter that the president made no such claim, and that Saenuri used the classified incident to tarnish the image of the opposition candidate during last year's presidential race. The DP fielded Moon Jae-in as its standard bearer. The lawmaker was chief of staff to Roh and would have known the details of the summit meeting.

All parliamentary activity came to a halt on Friday after DP spokesman Hong Ik-pyo referred to President Park as "gwitae" or a "baby born to a ghost" the day prior. This word can be interpreted as a child of someone who should never have been born in the first place.

The remark is a direct insult to the chief executive and her father former President Park Chung-hee, who ruled the country for 18 years before he was assassinated in 1979. The insult drew immediate attack from the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling party, both of which boycotted all proceedings until Hong issued a formal apology and resigned from his post as spokesman. Saenuri demanded the DP also apologize for the actions of one of its members.

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