South Korea's ruling and opposition parties agreed yesterday to work together to "lay the foundation for a peaceful change of power" to fill the vacuum left by the assassination of President Park Chung Hee.
The agreement was reached when the president of the ruling Democratic Republican Party, Kim Jong Pil, visited Kim Young Sam, leader of the main opposition, at his New Democratic Party's headquarters.
The 40-minute meeting came after more than five months of confrontation between the two camps in the National Assembly and five days after Kim Jong Pil was elected to succeed Park as leader of the ruling party.
It was the first meeting between leaders of the two parties in 2 1/2 years and the first time ever that a Democratic Republican leader visited New Democratic headquarters.
Kim Young Sam was expelled from the National Assembly for alleged unconstitutional activities three weeks before Park's death. His expulsion triggered widespread demonstrations in southern provincial cities, and a dispute about how to handle the unrest reportedly led to Park's assassination, allegedly by Korean Central Intelligence Agency chief Kim Jae Kyu.
Spolesmen for the two parties said the leaders also agreed that the National Assembly should become an "active political arena" to help the next government under a revised constitution.