South Korean President Lee Myung-bak will hold a rare meeting with ruling and opposition leaders to encourage bipartisan responses to the death of Kim Jong Il, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), local media reported Wednesday.
Lee is expected to meet Thursday with interim ruling party leader Park Geun-hye, opposition co-representative Won He-young and Shim Dae-pyung, chairman of the right-wing minority Liberty Forward Party, according to YTN television.
Both the conservative ruling Grand National Party and the main opposition Unified Democratic Party have called for bipartisan unity during times of uncertainty following the announcement of Kim's death on Monday.
The two parties, however, clashed Wednesday over whether to send a parliamentary delegation to attend Kim's funeral ceremony.
In their meeting earlier in the day, Park rejected Won's proposal to form a parliamentary delegation to visit Pyongyang, citing the government policy of not sending an official condolence delegation.
Seoul allows civic groups and individuals to send messages of condolences to the DPRK, but does not plan to send a government- led delegation to Pyongyang to honor Kim, who the DPRK's state media say died of a heart failure.
Pyongyang said it will not accept foreign delegations for the funeral ceremony scheduled on Dec. 28.