The government held an open hearing on the on-going revision of Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement this morning, but before long it turned into an absolute chaos.
Some angry civic groups expressed their discontent with the trade deal, and the hearing even got violent at one point.
We connect to our Lee Unshin who's at the scene now, Unshin I understand the Trade Ministry had to call off the hearing?
Yes, eggs were thrown, some cuss words were heard, and there were even multiple attempts to hit the government officials at the hearing, it was a total disaster.
As you mentioned, the Ministry had initially organized this meeting hoping to collect opinions from representatives of local businesses and industries, so that the government can prepare a fair, in-depth report for future negotiations with Washington.
Trade Ministry officials opened the meeting by saying the 5-year-old trade deal between Seoul and Washington has brought much benefit to the local economy.
But even before they got to talk about the detailed analysis and plans on how the deal should be revised, civic groups from the agricultural and livestock industries at the hearing got furious, and started yelling and demanding the hearing be called off.
They claimed their industry suffered a great deal from the bilateral agreement, and demanded that the Ministry officials take a closer look into the FTA's impact.
Some farm-owners and meat traders said that if the trade deal was to be revised, it had better compensate for the losses to these industries.
They didn't provide detailed insight or numerical data to their claims however.
And as the people started getting violent, the officials had to call an end to the hearing. At the moment we don't really know whether another hearing will be organized by the Ministry in the coming days or not.