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Alternative Town, Most Likely

Posted January. 05, 2005 22:17,   


Some voices within the government argued that moving all the key administrative offices, except for Cheong Wa Dae, may violate the Constitution.

Hence, moving all the administrative offices to build an “administrative town” while keeping Cheong Wa Dae, the Ministry of Unification, the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry, and other foreign affairs and security-related functions in Seoul is emerging as the most likely alternative.

The Presidential Committee for the Relocation of Administrative Offices (co-chaired by Prime Minister Lee Hae-Chan and Choi Byung-Sun, professor of Kyungwon University) submitted a report on alternatives to the capital move plan to the National Assembly’s Special Committee on New Administrative Capital on January 5.

In the report, the presidential committee came up with three alternatives of an “administrative capital,” an “administrative town,” and an “education and science research town.”

Regarding the issue, the Justice Ministry proposed that moving all the administrative offices is equivalent to relocating key government functions, which the Constitutional Court may rule unconstitutional.

The presidential committee said the “administrative town” alternative is not in violation of the Constitution and is likely to lead a balanced development of the nation. However, it added that an administrative town is not fully self-sufficient and that education and research function should be improved.

Regarding the “education and science research town” alternative, the committee pointed out that the plan is not likely to lead a balanced development, and that the town needs to attract universities and corporations on a large scale in an effort to enhance self-sufficiency.

Sixteen thousand four hundred sixty-seven officials from 18 ministries, four sub-ministries, and three offices will move with the “administrative capital” alternative, while 14,104 officials from 15 ministries, four sub-ministries, and three offices with the “administrative town” alternative, and 3,304 officials of seven ministries with the “education and science research town” alternative.

After a comparative study, the special committee will make a final decision on the alternative city by as early as the end of February.

Kwang-Hyun Kim kkh@donga.com