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Lee and Roh Open Televised Debate on Economy

Posted December. 10, 2002 22:41,   


Three major presidential candidates, Lee hoi-chang of the Grand National Party (GNP), Roh Moo-hyun of the pro-government Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) and Kwon Young-ghil of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP), held a televised debate in an MBC studio in Yeouido, central Seoul from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Dec. 10.

In the second of a series of debates, which was centered on economy and science, the presidential candidates exchanged charges and countercharges over issues such as reform of chaebol, household debts, agricultural policy, public fund, countermeasures against real estate speculation, liberalization, privatization of state-run companies and tax policy. In particular, the three candidates showed clear differences in policy on conglomerates. Lee insisted on easing of regulations on businesses, Roh called for reform of chaebol, and Kwon suggested breakup of chaebol.

Lee said, "The current economic difficulties is due to President Kim Dae-jung’s failure in national management. If elected, the GNP and I will revive the Korean economy and get people not to suffer economic hardship with right economic policy."

Roh reiterated he "will create a country in which any one can start a business, if they have capital and skills and sound businesses achieve success." He added, "If I were elected, the economy would do well all the more because of the eradication of the cozy relationships between government and business and irregularities and corruption."

For his part, Kwon criticized the GNP and the MDP for pushing the economy near bankruptcy five years ago and causing household bankruptcies over the past five years, respectively. He declared that he would take economic policy from which workers, farmers and ordinary people living in cities can equally benefit.

The second debate was organized by MBC and broadcast live on KBS, MBC, SBS, YTN and radio stations, with Yeom Jae-ho, professor of Korea University as a moderator, like the first debate. The third and final debate, focused on social and cultural, women’s and the press’ issues, will be held on Dec. 16.

Yong-Gwan Jung Jong-Koo Yoon yongari@donga.com jkmas@donga.com