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PM pledges reforms for decent life of people

Posted February. 22, 2001 18:56,   


Prime Minister Lee Han-Dong said Thursday that the government would seek to produce a tangible easing of military tensions and lay the groundwork for a permanent peace, among other things, in this year`s second inter-Korean summit. President Kim Dae-Jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il are expected to hold the meeting sometime this spring.

Lee said, ``There has been considerable progress in improving inter-Korean relations and boosting cooperation, but we have not yet made much progress in the two fields (easing military tensions and promoting a permanent peace).``

The Prime Minister made the remarks in a press conference marking the third anniversary of the inauguration of President Kim`s ``government of the people.`` The press meeting was held at his office in downtown Seoul.

``I think we can resolve the trade disputes with the United States through dialogue and within the framework of the alliance between the two countries,`` he said. ``Otherwise, we will bring the cases to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for resolution under its procedures.``

Lee stressed that this year is a significant one for the nation’s economy because exports are decreasing due to worsening external conditions, such as fears over the downturns in the U.S. and Japan, growing unemployment and a widening gap between the real economy and index economy.

``The government will correct these wrongs, solve problems and continue with reforms aimed at improving the people`s quality of life,`` he said.

Asked about the achievements of the incumbent government over the past three years, Lee said, ``We successfully overcame the financial crisis much earlier than expected, laid a stepping stone for another economic leap, and made efforts to improve the people`s welfare.``

``We also built the infrastructures for an information-based society and knowledge-centered economy by expanding the information superhighway and opened a new era for the Korean people by promoting inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation through the South-North summit,`` he said.

He went on to say that the government revised systems to raise the level of democracy and human rights here.

But Lee voiced regrets that the government had caused pain and inconveniences to the people in the course of implementing certain policies due to poor preparation, insufficient efforts to gather public opinion and a lack of consistency.

He pledged that the government would ``formulate policies and implement them in such a way as to respect the rights and interests of all people by consolidating the efforts of cabinet members and avoiding collective egoism.``