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Grand Canal Project Put on Hold

Posted April. 17, 2008 04:48,   


Cheong Wa Dae has decided not to push for the Grand Canal Project this year, one of President Lee Myung-bak’s major election pledges, according to reports on Wednesday.

Cheong Wa Dae is known to have entrusted the Grand National Party (GNP) with the project and related works.

An administration official said, “We chose not to proceed with the project in 2008. I believe that the president was briefed about this, as well.”

However, the official explained, “This does not mean that the waterway project has been scrapped altogether. We plan to gather public opinion during the year.”

It seems the administration has backed off from its original position on the canal project, given that the project was a major issue during the recent 18th general elections.

Another Cheong Wa Dae official added, “Though opposition to the canal project seems to outnumber supporters, if the Lee administration can produce tangible results and turn the economy around in 2008, public sentiment towards the construction project would turn around as well. Then we will be able to move forward with the project.”

The official added, “I know that President Lee has ordered the waterway project be entrusted with the GNP. GNP Policy Committee Chief Lee Han-gu will be in charge of the project.”

This announcement put an end to a controversy in the ruling camp over who would be in charge of the canal project.

Originally planning to launch the National Competitiveness Commission and put it directly under the president on March 13, Cheong Wa Dae said it will have a taskforce for the canal project but put the idea on hold.

Some Cheong Wa Dae officials are toying with the idea of putting several government agencies in charge of the project.