(ATTN: UPDATES with Moon's remarks in para 3; ADDS photo)
SEOUL, Sept. 19 (Yonhap) -- Former President Moon Jae-in paid a visit to opposition leader Lee Jae-myung at a hospital on Tuesday and urged him to end a hunger strike he has been on for nearly three weeks in protest against government policies.
Lee of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) began his fast on Aug. 31 in protest of what he has called the "incompetent and violent" government of President Yoon Suk Yeol. He was taken to a hospital on Monday due to deteriorating health.
"Now is the necessary moment to regain strength and fight in a different approach," Moon said while holding Lee's hand at the hospital bed.
It marks the first time that Moon had an official schedule in Seoul since leaving office last May. He is scheduled to participate in a ceremony commemorating the inter-Korean summit agreement signed on Sept. 19, 2018.
Despite an escalating political standoff, Yoon signed off on a motion requesting parliamentary consent to Lee's arrest over bribery charges, and his alleged involvement in a company's illegal cash remittance to North Korea.
The motion is scheduled to be put to a vote during a plenary session on Thursday.
The Assembly's consent is necessary to arrest Lee, because by law, legislators are immune from arrest while the parliament is in session, a measure designed to shield lawmakers from political persecution.
In order for the motion to pass, it requires a majority of the Assembly members to vote and a majority of those voting to cast their ballots in favor.
The motion can be rejected if DP lawmakers vote against it, as the party holds a majority in the parliament.