President Moon Jae-in met with top leaders of the ruling Democratic Party on Friday, officials said, to discuss ways to overcome the apparent impasse in the opposition-led parliament over his picks for new ministers.
The meeting, a 7 p.m. dinner at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, came as opposition support is needed not only for the appointment of the president's new ministers and other top officials but also for the government's request for an 11.2 trillion won (US$10 billion) supplementary budget.
"Nobody is 100 percent perfect. I will try my best to persuade the National Assembly," Rep. Park Wan-ju from the party quoted the president as saying while meeting with reporters.
Park also said the president cautiously suggested a representative from each ruling and opposition party accompany him when he leaves for the U.S. for a summit later this month.
President Moon is already scheduled to deliver a state of the nation address at the National Assembly on Monday, a move largely aimed at urging the opposition-controlled parliament to approve his government's request for the extra budget.
The president is also expected to meet with ruling and opposition leaders of the parliamentary committee next week, Cheong Wa Dae officials said earlier.
Having the parliament endorse Moon's new ministers is also an urgent issue that is apparently keeping the new administration from implementing many of Moon's election pledges.
In a meeting with all incumbent ministers, appointed under the former conservative administration, the new president noted he would eventually have to replace all 16 of them and also fill in two ministerial posts that were vacant.
He, however, has been able to name only seven new Cabinet members so far, partly amid strong objections from the opposition parties against some of his earlier picks. Only one of them has been appointed.
The ruling Democratic Party controls 120 seats in the 300-seat parliament, the largest number of seats held by any single political party but far short of a majority.
The main opposition Liberty Korea Party controls 107 seats, while the entire opposition bloc, which includes the splinter conservative Bareun Party, center-left People's Party and progressive Justice party, controls 173 seats. (Yonhap)