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Pres.-elect Gives New Year’s News Conference

Posted January. 15, 2008 06:37,   


President-elect Lee Myung-bak said in his New Year’s speech Monday, "The most fundamental task of the next administration is to make a lean and efficient government."

“The change should start with the government. We need to streamline organizations that fail to meet the changing demands of this era.”

He also said many other countries have undergone drastic government reorganization to sharpen their competitiveness, and that his administration should finish its reorganization prior to its inauguration to make a fresh start.

“Easing regulations is a top priority to revive the economy," he said. "Complicated regulations hindering investment are obstacles that should disappear.”

In line with this comment, he also announced a couple of methods that his government will introduce to remove what he called "a complicated web of regulations."

On his campaign pledge of achieving annual economic growth of seven percent, he said, “It might be difficult to accomplish that goal this year, but we will change economic fundamentals to eventually achieve that rate." He also ruled out excessive stimulus measures to achieve his growth target.

On North Korea, Lee said, “I am willing to meet the North Korean leadership if it leads to the North’s renunciation of nuclear development or improved inter-Korean relations. I prefer to hold such a meeting in South Korea.”

He also suggested that agreements reached in the inter-Korean summit in October last year will be implemented after reviewing their business feasibility, financial burden and national consensus.

On education policy, the president-elect said, “Even if colleges are given autonomy over admission, they cannot start administering their own entrance exams. (The new government) will reduce the number of subjects on the college entrance exam to relieve the burden on students and cut private education costs."

He also mentioned his controversial proposal to build a cross-country canal system, saying, “The project will be completely financed by private enterprise, meaning Seoul has no say on this business."

"The government will follow necessary steps such as examining its feasibility and environmental impact only after the private sector finalizes its investment plans.”

Switching to the April general elections, Lee said his government will hopefully garner enough votes to ensure that state affairs run smoothly. He said that after the elections, he will usher in a new era of political coexistence and collaboration between the ruling and opposition parties.

"The nation will see political parties, an administration, and the National Assembly totally different from the past.”