South Korea to Pass Anti-Terror Law

Michael Song, Nov. 17, 2015, 9:25 a.m.

Rival parties said Tuesday they agreed to begin discussions for the swift passage of the anti-terrorist bill following the deadly terror attacks in Paris. After holding a parliamentary meeting, the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) agreed to activate relevant committees to have the pending bill pass through "as soon as possible."

"The bipartisan agreement reflects public concerns amid growing needs for tougher anti-terror measures," Saenuri spokesman Kim Yong-nam said. "We will expedite necessary procedures through discussions by the committees." The bill has faced strong dissent from the opposition party, which expressed worries over the violation of human rights and abuse of state powers as it would give more authority to the National Intelligence Service (NIS). The spy agency has been embroiled in a series of embarrassing scandals such as election meddling, smartphone hacking and evidence forgery.

In addition to the first bill proposed by the government in 2011 following the 9/11, a number of anti-terrorist bills are pending in the parliament. During a Cabinet meeting earlier in the day, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn said, "Bills and governmental system related to terrorism should be reviewed and supplemented to effectively deal with it." He also called for strengthened security in major facilities and diplomatic missions in South Korea as well as tightened control at immigration offices to ease anxiety among citizens.

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