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[Editorial] Impatient Haste in the Capital Relocation Process

[Editorial] Impatient Haste in the Capital Relocation Process

Posted July. 05, 2004 22:27,   


The Presidential Committee on Administrative Capital Relocation selected Yeongi-Gongju in Chungcheong Province yesterday as the most favorable site for the new capital. The advisory body to the President plans to announce the final site after several public hearings on the matter. It is hard to disregard the fact that the government has shown a lopsided manner in pushing forward such national affairs as the relocation project onto a strict schedule.

Since the committee revealed its plan to move not only the executive branch but also the legislative and judicial branches, including most of the constitutional institutions, public opinion asking for studying the necessity and the feasibility of the move has steadily grown. In addition, experts and the media have been tirelessly evaluating the timing, extent, and cost of the relocation plan by providing “grounds for evaluation.”

The government itself differs in opinion. Apart from the committee’s plan, Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan commented it was not necessary to relocate the legislative and judicial branches. The former chairperson of the main opposition Grand National Party, Park Geun-hye, even proposed that the National Assembly set up a special committee to examine the feasibility of the plan. Since the controversial relocation issue has become an “important agenda” that the general public is keeping its eye on, it would be hard for the relocation committee to push ahead with the project depending only on its own decision-making process.

However, the screening committee has shown a lopsided manner by refusing to listen to the public and declining to provide details, as if the relocation is a settled matter. The ruling party seems to deny any opposition to the capital relocation and seems to consider questions about it regarding the move as “anti-reformist” acts. In this situation, it is not likely that the upcoming public hearings will produce convincing results.

The capital relocation is not one administration’s affair to be remembered, it is an affair on a nationwide scale. Before pursuing further progress on the relocation, we need to carry out objective and scientific examinations and reach a national consensus on the priority of the project, which will help avoid national discord and unnecessary conflicts of opinion. Keeping the consistency of state affairs is important. However, the far-sighted national policy, which has been hastily pursued, will only remain as a burdensome government project for the future.