(EDITORIAL from Korea JoongAng Daily on April 18)

Yoon must extend his hand to the opposition Political circles were upset after some media outlets on Wednesday raised the possibility of President Yoon Suk Yeol recruiting former Democratic Party (DP) lawmaker Park Young-sun as a candidate for the next prime minister and Yang Jung-chul, a close aide to former President Moon Jae-in, as Yoon's chief of staff. An official at the presidential office even said the president considered appointing the two figures to demonstrate his will to cooperate with the majority opposition. But a few hours later, the presidential office denied the news reports. But the denial will not help ease public confusion, as some presidential aides backed the report. If the presidential office wants to bring in a politician from the opposition as prime minister to show the spirit of co-governance, it cannot be blamed. However, such a drastic decision requires a sincere review of what should come first. If the sequence is reversed, any policies could end up in failure. The counterpart of the conservative government and People Power Party (PPP) is the DP. So, the president must first talk with the DP. The opposition dismissed the report as being totally groundless. Some DP members linked it to the need for the government to divide the opposition. Appointing an opposition politician as prime minister does not deserve floating a trial balloon. The presidential office and the PPP must open a communication channel with the opposition followed by an effort to put both sides' demands on the negotiating table. The president must have a meeting with DP leader Lee Jae-myung. If both sides agree to the level of co-governance after discussions, the government can appoint the new prime minister at an appropriate time. If the president rushes to appoint the prime minister unilaterally, it will only provoke opposition from the majority party. If an opposition politician is appointed as prime minister, they must be accepted by the two parties' own supporters. But the two DP figures are strongly opposed by conservatives. Even Rep. Kwon Seong-dong, a close friend of the president, warned against an appointment "totally denying the identity of the conservative party." Both Park and Yang are reportedly close to Yoon, but the president must not confuse a personal relationship with a political relationship. If the president really wants to appoint a prime minister from outside for co-governance, he must broaden his pool of talents and listen to various voices from the people and the media. The lead-up to the leak of the Park-Yang card to the press also sounds alarms. If it was committed by the president's personal aides, not by his own staff, that's a serious issue. The presidential office must respond to the mystery. Source: Yonhap News Agency