SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Korea Bizwire) – President Park Geun-hye reiterated her calls Tuesday for parliamentary approval of a bill meant to protect South Korea from possible terrorist attacks.
She warned that South Korea could neither properly cooperate with the international community nor exchange intelligence on terrorism unless parliament endorses the bill.
“Even IS came to know that no basic law is in place in South Korea to prevent terrorism,” Park said in a regular Cabinet meeting, referring to the Islamic State militant group.
“I made it clear that the parliament will be held accountable in case our people suffer damage from an unimaginable terror attack in the future,” she said.
The anti-terrorism bill has gained fresh momentum in South Korea following the deadly attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.
Last week, Park visited the Bataclan Theater, one of several locations in Paris attacked by the Islamic State, during her trip to Paris for the U.N. climate summit.
In November, the ruling and opposition parties agreed to begin discussions for the swift passage of the anti-terrorism bill, though the main opposition party is concerned about giving more authority to the National Intelligence Service, South Korea’s top spy agency.
South Korea recently arrested an Indonesian citizen on a forged passport who is suspected of associating with a terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaida.
Also Tuesday, she pressed the ruling and opposition parties to put aside their differences to pass a set of bills meant to create jobs and to reform the labor sector.
She warned that the parliament could face “public disappointment and anger” if it fails to pass the bills.
The regular parliamentary session is set to end Wednesday.
Other bills awaiting parliamentary endorsement call for the development of the service sector and improvement of North Korea’s dismal human rights record.
In recent years, similar bills on North Korea’s human rights were scrapped in South Korea, as liberal lawmakers have shied away from the issue of the North’s human rights out of fear that it could strain inter-Korean relations.
North Korea has long been accused of grave human rights abuses, ranging from holding political prisoners in concentration camps to committing torture and carrying out public executions.
Still, the North has denied any rights abuses, describing the accusations as a U.S.-led attempt to topple its regime, and claiming it has the world’s most advantageous human rights conditions and policies.
The ruling Saenuri Party commands a parliamentary majority with 157 seats in the 294-member parliament, while the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy has 127 seats.