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Opposition Leader Urges Overhaul of Economic Policies

Posted October. 14, 2008 06:46,   


The chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party, Chung Sye-kyun, urged yesterday an overhaul of economic policies including revision of the draft budget for next year.

In a meeting with reporters marking his 100th day as the party’s leader, Chung said, “The 2009 draft budget is extremely unrealistic since it assumes economic growth of five percent and a tax revenue increase of 15.6 percent.”

“It is critical that we revise the draft budget for next year since fiscal soundness is paramount to the economy.”

“The current crisis is simply unprecedented,” he said. “It has completely changed the world’s economic landscape. We need international cooperation for implementing monetary and financial policies and expanding domestic consumption and investment.”

Chung asked the government to revive the deputy prime minister system and fire Strategy and Finance Minister Kang Man-soo. “Policies that have lost the confidence of the people will no longer work. They simply cannot handle the current situation,” Chung said.

The party chairman also urged the gathering of national strength through harmonious politics, pressing the government and the ruling party to stop ideological conflict, suppression of public security, inspection for retaliatory purposes, and harassment of media.

On the government’s North Korea policy, Chung proposed reconciliatory and cooperative principles.

He also rejected the suggestion of ruling Grand National Party Chairman Park Hee-tae of a ruling-opposition summit.

“I touched on 12 issues including ending oppression of the press and reforming the tax system in a meeting with the president,” Chung said. “Things got worse, however, let alone get any better. Against this backdrop, I am skeptical about Park’s suggestion.”

On the ruling party’s suggestion of urging people to bring dollars sitting at home to the capital market, Chung said, “It would be better than doing nothing, but I am not sure how effective the idea can be.”

He also welcomed the decision to remove North Korea from the U.S. list of terrorism sponsors. On if he will visit Pyongyang, Chung said, “At a time when the two Koreas cannot readily reach out to each other, the Democratic Party has a sense of mission to take the initiative.”