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Lawmakers Revise International City Bill

Posted November. 22, 2005 08:34,   


Jejudo’s special self-governing body plans to accommodate foreign corporate hospitals where current health insurance regulations will not apply.

What is the difference between a regular hospital and a corporate hospital? The profit generated from a corporate hospital is shared by its stockholders, while Korean medical law requires all hospitals to be run as non-profit entities. All generated profit from regular hospitals must be invested back into the hospital.

This is one of the provisions included in “The Special Bill for the establishment of Jeju self-government and a free international city” which was passed by the legislature on November 21.

Currently, Jeju Province consists of Seoguipo City, South Jeju County, and North Jeju County. According to the special bill, these three will be reconstituted into a single wide self-governing system.

The city-county legislature will be gone, and the provincial legislature will expand from 19 seats to 35 seats.

However, in addition to Seoguipo City, two new administrative cities will be established. The mayors of the administrative cities will be appointed by the governor of the province.

The direct election of the director of education and educational committeemen will be central to the self-government’s education system. Also, a municipal police force will be established. The Provincial Bureau of Land Management and seven other special provincial administrative bodies will be placed under Jeju’s authority.

All provincial taxes will be transformed into special self-government taxes, enabling reductions or readjustments.

The establishment of foreign educational institutions, currently limited to colleges, will extend to include elementary, middle, and high schools. Existing colleges in Jeju will be able to adopt the curriculums of foreign colleges.

Self-governing proposals going nowhere-

The bill that passed the national legislature yesterday is different from the bill that was first proposed by the legislative committee for provincial reforms in May.

The committee envisioned making Jejudo a free international city with complete self-governing authority, including powers of legislation, taxation, and immigration.

The long-term plan was to create a free international city with no visas, taxes, regulations, and English as its official language.

But the bill that passed the legislature not only omits the blueprint of this long-term goal, but also the articles that allow Jejudo the use of the national and provincial tax revenue.

An official from Advocacy for Jeju Self-Government said, “The timetable for the self-government’s establishment forced the bill to take a shape that is somewhat removed from the original proposal. We will establish a Jeju self-government support committee to push forward with the original long-term plans for the city.”

On a different issue, the legislature voted on the extension of the Korean troop deployment to Iraq. Legislators voted to cut 1,000 troops from the Korean forces there.

The troop deployment deadline that ends next month, will be renewed for one more year, and troops currently stationed in Iraq will stay there until the end of next year.

The administration plans to gradually withdraw 1,000 troops out of 3,200, starting early next year. The bill will come before the president for signing on November 22, and will be passed to the table of the legislature on November 23.

Jong-Dae Ha orionha@donga.com