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Pres. Lee Blames Gov`t for Failed Bank Sale

Posted September. 22, 2008 08:48,   


President Lee Myung-bak is blaming HSBC’s cancellation of its purchase of Korea Exchange Bank on the government’s failure to make a prompt decision.

In a breakfast meeting Saturday to review the financial environment with economic ministers and chief advisers, he said, “National interest should be the chief concern of public officials in decision-making, and they must be ready to take full responsibility for their decisions.”

Lee ordered his economic ministers and advisers to proactively take measures, cooperate with the ruling party for prompt approval of deregulation bills before the National Assembly, such as one on separation of financial and industrial capital, and carry out measures applicable immediately to the market.

On U.S.-triggered financial shocks, he said, “Though financial markets at home and abroad have regained stability, we must brace for an unexpected turn of events that could adversely affect the real economy and respond with agility and vigor.”

“Big businesses might have enough capital to survive, but temporarily cash-strapped small and medium-size companies could go bankrupt even if they post surpluses. To prevent this, I urge financial authorities and institutions to check the situation of each company and come up with realistic measures.”

Strategy and Finance Minister Kang Man-soo said in the meeting, “Deputy Strategy and Finance Minister for International Affairs Shin Jae-yoon, Assistant U.S. Treasury Secretary for International Affairs Clay Lowery, Japanese Vice Finance Minister for International Affairs Naoyuki Shinohara and Chinese Vice Finance Minister Li Yong have established close cooperation with financial authorities with a hotline to exchange information on global financial market trends and discuss tackling the challenge together.”

Apart from Kang, Knowledge Economy Minister Lee Youn-ho and Financial Services Commission Chairman Jun Kwang-woo attended the breakfast meeting on behalf of the government. Chief presidential adviser for economic affairs Bahk Byung-won and presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan were among those representing the presidential office.