S.Korean president meets opposition leader after parliamentary election defeat

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has held the first talks with the leader of the main opposition party since he took office in 2022. This comes after his ruling People Power Party suffered a crushing defeat in a parliamentary election earlier this month.

The Democratic Party's Lee Jae-myung visited the presidential office on Monday.

He called on Yoon to respect the will of the people seeking a change in national politics, following the election.

Lee went on to say people's livelihoods and the economy are in dire straits, and asked the president to actively consider giving cash handouts as proposed by his party.

Lee also asked that the government make efforts to ensure people's pride will not be hurt with regard to relations with Japan.

He referred to the release of treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean, as well as the islands that South Korea controls and Japan claims.

The Japanese government maintains the Takeshima Islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. It says South Korea is illegally occupying them.

Poll results released by Gallup Korea on April 19 showed Yoon had an approval rating of 23 percent. That's down 11 points from the pre-election figure, and the lowest since he took office.

Observers say Yoon apparently held the meeting to indicate he will be positive about dialogue with the opposition, which holds a majority in parliament, to help advance national politics.