Posted : 2015-11-24 13:15
Updated : 2015-11-24 13:15

Park calls for passage of anti-terrorism law

President Park Geun-hye called for the passage of anti-terrorism bills on Tuesday to counter any possible terrorist attacks in South Korea.

Park said South Korea is not a safe zone clear of possible terrorism, citing the recent arrest of an Indonesian citizen on a forged passport who is suspected of following a terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaida.

South Korea has deported a total of 48 foreigners who were either affiliated with international terrorist groups or appointed security risks in recent years.

"I hope that you will make best efforts to protect people's lives to ensure the bills related to terrorism, which have been held up for 14 years, are passed this time," Park told participants in a Cabinet meeting.

Her comments came as the anti-terrorism bills gained new momentum following the deadly attacks in Paris that killed more than 120 people.

Last week, the ruling and opposition parties agreed to begin discussions for the swift passage of the anti-terrorism bills.

Still, the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy is concerned that the bills could give more authority to the National Intelligence Service, South Korea's top spy agency.

Also on Tuesday, Park vowed not to tolerate illegal demonstrations and instructed officials to come up with strong measures to root out violent protests.

She said terrorists could pose a threat to South Koreans by blending in with protestors during an illegal demostration.

The warning came in response to the violent rally in central Seoul earlier this month against the government's education and labor policies.

Some protestors brandished metal pipes and riot police fired water cannons at them. Nine police buses, parked in the area to block the flow of demonstrators to the Blue House, were destroyed as protesters attacked the barricade of buses with ropes and clubs.

Park also pressed lawmakers to ratify a series of free trade deals -- which South Korea has inked with China, New Zealand and Vietnam -- by this week to ensure they go into effect by the end of this year.

South Korea and China signed a free trade agreement in June, though the deal has yet to be ratified by the respective legislatures of Seoul and Beijing.

South Korea has clinched a series of free trade agreements with major trading partners, including the U.S., in recent years as part of its efforts to boost growth in the country's export-driven economy. South Korea's exports represent around 50 percent of its gross domestic product.

Park described the parliamentary failure to ratify the free trade deals as "dereliction of duty and a challenge to people." (Yonhap)

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