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Pres. Lee Hints at Postponing the Connection of Waterways

Pres. Lee Hints at Postponing the Connection of Waterways

Posted May. 22, 2008 09:05,   


President Lee Myung-bak remarked yesterday that Korea is probably the only country that uses its rivers as sewers and that the situation had to improve.

At the briefing by the North Gyeongsang Provincial office, Daegu Mayor Kim Beom-il said, that about 800 billion won a year was spent to restore damage done by flooding. In response, President Lee Myung-bak said that it was “ridiculous that Korea suffers from both flooding and droughts.”

In regards to the Nakdong River section, which is first on the government’s Grand Canal plan, Lee said, “Other nations use environment-friendly measures when they construct canals. We need to postpone this section since the people feel uneasy about it.”

Lee’s remark suggests that the government plans to continue with the Grand Canal but is adjusting the pace of the construction so as to ease the public’s concerns.

Some members of the ruling party have even suggested that the government begin by improving current waterways, which would not invite much resistance from the public. Meanwhile, it could raise the support of the public before it tries to connect waterways, which is now highly controversial.

Some even argue that Lee’s remark implies that the government might first clear waterbeds and waterways, which can be done without much trouble, before connecting four major rivers and constructing the Joryeong Tunnel, which has raised environmental concerns.

A source from the presidential office said, “Connecting the waterways at the end is not a problem. Given the level of public resistance to the plan, it is a good idea that the government finds the most amicable way to pursue the Grand Canal Project.”