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Internal Discord in South Korea’s Opposition Appears Settled

March 18, 1987

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ A three-month internal dispute in South Korea’s largest opposition political party appeared settled Wednesday after two party leaders said they had reconciled their differences.

New Korea Democratic Party President Lee Min-woo and adviser Kim Young-sam met Tuesday and vowed to fight together to replace the current electoral college system with direct presidential elections.

″I thought that if the party split, it would be much too tragic for the nation,″ Lee said. ″I hope this (reconciliation) would help promote the democratization of our country.″

But the two leaders said some people still had the misunderstanding that the opposition party would betray its supporters and compromise with President Chun Doo-hwan’s Democratic Justice Party on the constitutional issue of presidential elections.

Chun’s governing party is pushing for a system with a strong prime minister and a largely ceremonial president to take effect when Chun’s seven-year term ends next February.

The opposition party’s dispute developed last December when Lee made proposals that some party followers believed indicated he would compromise with the ruling party.

Lee’s proposal called for the Chun government to promote the freedom of the press, release all political prisoners and guarantee the neutrality of the judiciary, military and government officials.

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