Ruling camp divided over U.S. beef imports
The ruling camp is divided over imports of U.S. beef after a mad cow disease was reported in a dairy cow in California last week.
Park Geun-hye, head of the ruling Saenuri Party’s interim leadership committee, called for strict measures, including a suspension of U.S. beef imports.
Park said the government should stop quarantine of U.S. beef for the time being until investigators find it is safe to eat. “If investigators find there are any safety concerns, the government must suspend beef imports from the United States,” she said Friday.
On Sunday, Lee Sang-il, a lawmaker-elect and spokesman of the ruling camp, told The Korea Times that there has been no change in the party’s position since then.
Officials from the Saenuri Party and Cheong Wa Dae will sit down to exchange views on U.S. beef imports early next week, according to ruling party officials.
Cheong Wa Dae and the governing party are poles apart over the imports as the former shows few signs of taking any measures against bringing American beef into the country.
The rational for Cheong Wa Dae’s stance on U.S. beef imports has two main points. It said few foreign governments have suspended imports of American beef cuts and that Korea doesn’t import meat from dairy cows.
On Friday, Thailand announced it would cease allowing American beef imports days after the mad cow case was reported.
Japan, a key importer of American beef, however, showed no signs of stopping its imports.
Opposition parties, including the Democratic United Party, urged the government to suspend imports of U.S. beef.
The government will send an investigation team to the United States today to check facilities there.