[JURIST] South Korea's minority Democratic Party [official website, in Korean] filed a criminal suit Sunday after Assembly Speaker Kim Hyong-o [official website] on Saturday ordered security guards to end a sit-in by the minority party, which led to dozens of injuries. Democratic Party officials allege abuse of power [AP report] by the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) [official website] and filed suit against Kim, Chief of Police Eo Cheong-soo, and two other GNP parliamentary officials. The protest was aimed at preventing President Lee Myung-bak [BBC profile] from passing a series of bills including a free trade agreement [text, USTR materials] with the US before the current legislative session ends on Thursday.
The US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) was signed by both parties on June 30, 2007 [USTR press release] after eight rounds of negotiations concluded on April 1, 2007, but has yet to be ratified by either party. The agreement is intended to increase bi-lateral trade and economic investment in both countries. Under the agreement 64 percent of Korea's agriculture imports from the US would become duty free, as well as 95 percent of bi-lateral trade in industrial and consumer products. The agreement would also eliminate all tariffs on automobile trade between the two countries.