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The UCAN team
Churches criticize free trade ratification
Statement accuses government of riding roughshod over objections of peoplePolice used water cannons to disperse some 3,000 people protesting passage of the FTA with the US (photo: 'Catholic News, Here and Now')
- November 23, 2011
It accused the ruling Grand National Party of blatantly ignoring widespread objections from opposition parties and civic groups by pushing through yesterdayâs vote behind closed doors.
Many believe the free trade agreement (FTA) will benefit major corporations at the expense of farmers and small business owners.
Catholic churchmen also attacked the move.
Augustine Maeng Joo-hyung, education director of Seoul archdioceseâs Environmental Pastoral Committee, said the move was âhasty because measures to safeguard the weak had not been yet formulated.â
He called on all Koreans to âpunish the Grand National Party in general and presidential electionsâ next year.
Father Stephen Yang Ki-suk, secretary general of the Korean Catholic Solidarity for the Creation of Integrity, said any sacrifices made as a result of the FTA would be made by the weak.
He said the local Church should have done more to oppose the deal and come down âon the side of the weakâ in accordance with Christâs teachings.
Following the vote the main opposition Democratic Party yesterday pledged to fight to scupper the agreement, while around 3,000 people later held a demonstration in Myeongdong, in central Seoul.
South Korea and the US signed the free trade deal in June 2007. Â The US Congress ratified it in October. Yesterdayâs vote in South Korea means the agreement will take effect on January 1 next year.
Religious groups oppose âhastyâ treaty