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“7% Growth Is Not Far-Fetched” Says GNP Candidate

Posted June. 07, 2007 03:05,   


On June 6, GNP presidential hopeful Lee Myung-bak emphatically dismissed a rumor that he borrowed others’ names to hide assets of 800 billion won by saying, “It is an outrageous allegation. People should not make such a preposterous claim. I have not lived that way. ”

In an interview with this newspaper regarding the allegations that he was directly linked to an asset management firm BBK that was used by former businessman Kim Kyung-jun to move a huge amount of money to foreign countries, the former Seoul mayor said, “It is absurd at best.”

Regarding his running for the presidency, he said, “People tend to think that real estate speculation is a commonplace among CEOs of large corporations. The truth of the matter is that the screening process for CEOs’ private lives is far more rigorous than people think. I don’t want to hide a skeleton in the closet to become president.”

He said he puts great importance on the revitalization of the economy and social integration. And he added, “Government change is our calling. And for the sake of free democracy and the market economy, a change of government is more important than my becoming president. And I am confident that I am better suited to meeting the public’s desire to see government change than any other hopefuls.”

With respect to the heated debate over the “candidate screening process” with the former GNP chairwoman Park Geun-hye, he said, “I am worried that party nomination is viewed as the final goal. People working for Park’s camp tend to go too far.”

As to his economic pledge of “7-4-7” (7 percent growth, $40,000 per capita GDP, and becoming the 7th largest economy in the world), he said, “Given that the world economy is enjoying 2-digit growth, attaining 7 percent growth is not a tall order at all. If an investor-friendly environment is provided, 1 percent to 1.5 percent growth will be comfortably achieved. I even expect growth of more than 7 percent.”

Regarding his proposal of constructing a canal across the Korean peninsula, which has stirred up controversy over environmental destruction, he said, “Dredging rivers can actually improve water quality. I’ve received calls from foreign companies asking about the possibility of their investment in it. If I am elected, I will formally declare it as a project that private companies can bid for, and carry out a government feasibility study and an assessment of environmental impact.”

With respect to the reform of the GNP, he said, “During the April 25 by election, there was corruption in the party nomination process because of a ‘corruption-prone system,” pointing out the problem with the chief of the Association of Party Members deep involvement in the nomination of local lawmakers and municipal leaders.

Regarding President Roh’s remarks in a lecture at the Participatory Government Evaluation Forum which sparked a controversy over whether he broke election law or not, Lee said, “What the president said proves he has so little understanding of what is involved in a fair election. The GNP should do more than just express its displeasure. It would do well to correct the president’s deeds.”