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2 Defeated Kims Refuse to Meet Roh, Demand Vote Be Nullified

December 20, 1987|SAM JAMESON and NICK B. WILLIAMS Jr. | Times Staff Writers

SEOUL, South Korea — Opposition leaders Kim Young Sam and Kim Dae Jung on Saturday refused invitations to meet with President-elect Roh Tae Woo.

The two Kims, who lost to Roh in Wednesday's presidential election, rejected his requests for separate meetings with each of them by reiterating demands that the election be nullified because of alleged fraud.

The two Kims also remained at loggerheads with each other.

Kim Young Sam rejected a bid from Kim Dae Jung for a meeting, citing the latter's violation of their agreement not to criticize each other during the campaign. Kim Dae Jung had proposed the meeting to discuss a combined effort to get the presidential vote invalidated.

In Kim Dae Jung's power base of Kwangju, several thousand students clashed with riot police in exchanges of rocks, firebombs and tear gas. Seoul was relatively quiet.

Meanwhile, a ruling party leader threatened to conduct next year's National Assembly election in a way that would guarantee the government party a victory.

Chung Suk Mo, secretary general of the Democratic Justice Party, said his party wants to hold a National Assembly election around Feb. 10, but, in any event, no later than Feb. 20, or five days before Roh is scheduled to take office.

He reiterated Roh's offer to negotiate a revision of the current National Assembly Law, which, in effect, guarantees the government party a majority in the unicameral legislature. But he warned that if the opposition continues to boycott talks, "we will merely modify supplementary provisions of the law concerning numbers and boundaries of constituencies and pass it by ourselves."

Such action would preserve a system under which the party winning the largest number of seats automatically gets two-thirds of a bloc of seats awarded on the basis of proportional representation, thus assuring that party a majority. In an election in February, 1985, for example, the Democratic Justice Party won 35% of the votes but wound up with 55% of the seats.

Because the opposition is so badly splintered, the ruling party is assured of winning the most seats in the balloting for assemblymen in constituencies throughout the country, and under the existing system would be certain of a majority in the new assembly.

The timing of the National Assembly election threatens to become a major point of contention. Under the country's new constitution, the assembly election could be held as late as April 27.

"There is no possibility that the assembly election will be held after Roh's inauguration (as the opposition has demanded)," Chung said flatly, adding that his party wants a revision of the assembly law to be adopted by mid-January.

His statement appeared designed to force the opposition parties to end their bid to nullify the presidential election and resume negotiations with the ruling group.

However, the parties of both Kims promptly rejected a ruling party proposal that assembly floor leaders meet this week to begin three-way talks.

Kim Dae Jung's party decided to boycott not only talks on revising the assembly law but also any session of the National Assembly.

Kim Young Sam's party staged a protest sit-in inside its own party office and placed an advertisement in a newspaper asking the people to rise up against the government and nullify the presidential election.

Roh held his first post-election meetings, separately, with President Chun Doo Hwan and U.S. Ambassador James R. Lilley.

Chun promised Roh his longtime friend and handpicked choice to be the ruling party's presidential candidate, that he would cooperate in every possible way to ensure a smooth transition of power--scheduled to be the first peaceful transfer of the nation's highest office since the Republic of Korea was established in 1948.

Roh, now protected around the clock by 25 bodyguards from the Presidential Security Force, rode to the presidential Blue House in a bulletproof Cadillac limousine, one of the perks of his new status as president-elect.

Lilley handed Roh a letter from President Reagan pledging U.S. support of South Korean efforts to achieve post-election reconciliation, sustain economic growth, maintain a strong military capability against possible aggression from North Korea, and stage the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul next September. More than 40,000 U.S. troops are stationed here.

Reagan also congratulated Roh, saying that "we are looking forward to working closely" with Roh's government and calling Roh's "pledge to continue the democratization process . . . a key element in your victory."

In their hourlong meeting, Roh assured Lilley that he intends to run the government "in a spirit of reconciliation."

While the fight between government and opposition continued in the political arena, street demonstrations declined sharply Saturday. Several of Friday's demonstrations involved hundreds of protesting students--thousands in Kwangju--but showed no sign of winning the middle-class support that bolstered the opposition cause last June.

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