President Lee Myung-bak held his first radio address yesterday morning titled Hello, Korea! This is the President aired on eight stations.
He emphasized the importance of trust in overcoming economic difficulty, saying, You cannot take an umbrella from someone when it rains. Financial institutions must step up to help troubled companies that can be saved with just a little bit of assistance.
In a speech that lasted for eight and a half minutes, Lee said, The best way out of the economic crisis is for each economic player including business, financial institutions, policymakers and consumers to faithfully do their part based on mutual trust.
The government will take prudent measures and disclose all information in a transparent manner.
The keywords of his speech were confidence and hope. He said, Though the economy is facing challenging times, this financial crisis is largely different from the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
Most importantly, Korea has a history of successfully overcoming crises and that gives us confidence.
He also said, At a time like this, we might all end up as losers if mistrust prevails and immediate gains override long-term benefits. Our actions must be based on a broad perspective.
The president urged the public to reduce overseas spending and increase domestic consumption, while urging more corporate investment. A company that truly cares about its nation will create more jobs through investment at a time like this, he said.
In addition, he urged lawmakers to pass 600 pending bills on saving the economy before the regular session ends.
At the end of the day, the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae gave a positive self-evaluation on the radio address, saying, The president appealed to the technologically savvy public with traditional communication skills.
President Lee began the speech in a friendly manner by saying, I know youre having a difficult time these days. Its the same for me. When I wake up in the morning, I worry about what kind of depressing news will pop up during the day.
He even made a rare mention of his father. By recalling his own experience as the son of a man who lost his job as a security guard at a corporate building, he said he is familiar with the problems economically troubled families got through.
Reports said the president decided to insert his fathers story in his speech Sunday after careful consideration.
Political responses to the speech were mixed. Ruling Grand National Party Chairman Park Hee-tae said, President Lees speech was truly moving. It gave hope and a sense of belief to the people anxious over the economic crisis.
In contrast, main opposition Democratic Party Chairman Chung Sye-kyun told a news conference, Lees speech lacked a sense of reality and responsibility. Nowhere in the speech did he hold himself accountable for the failure of his economic policies implemented over the past seven months.