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[Editorial] PM`s Solution to Sejong City

Posted October. 17, 2009 08:30,   


On the dispute over the plan to relocate the country`s administrative capital to Sejong City, Prime Minister Chung Un-chan said yesterday to figures hailing from the Chungcheong provinces that he had a win-win solution to benefit both the country and Chungcheong. He also urged patience while devising a blueprint. “I will devise a great solution considering the opinions of the government, the National Assembly, and the people, especially those in the Chungcheong region,” he said.

Fears are rising, however, that the situation will further aggravate before Chung comes up with a solution. Residents of Yeongi County, South Chungcheong Province, in which the new administrative city will be built, keep staging mass protests and candlelight demonstrations in opposing the government’s alleged move to revise the original project. Extreme action such as business shutdown and school boycotts is expected. Political interests are feared to further fuel such demonstrations in the run-up to the by-elections at the end of this month and local elections next year.

An official at the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae said yesterday that Chung will present a general guideline, and if public opinions are gathered over the guideline, the government or Cheong Wa Dae will express its view. Against this backdrop, ruling Grand National Party Chairman Chung Mong-joon’s repeated comments on the issue can be seen as ambiguous and irresponsible. He said the party will stick to the original plan. The main opposition Democratic Party is also not free from blame since it only blasts the Lee Myung-bak administration for being hypocritical and untruthful, yet the party turns a blind eye to the inefficiency the original plan will bring by dispersing ministries and government agencies.

A host of polls say the people want revision of the Sejong City plan. A survey conducted by Research & Research Monday said 50.7 percent of the people prefer a revised plan minimizing the transfer of government organizations and building a scientific and self-sufficient city. A third agree with the original plan. Needless to say, the opinions of Chungcheong residents are also important. So people from all walks of life must pull their wisdom to devise a solution that can satisfy Chungcheong residents without moving the administrative capital.

Some in the ruling camp suggest reducing the number of government organizations transferred to the new location by changing ministerial notifications. Revising the law, however, is seen as more practical. Political disputes and instigations should not sway the construction of the new administrative capital, a national policy that has cost 22 trillion won (18.9 billion U.S. dollars). The people should give Chung time to devise a plan to achieve both national and provincial development at the same time.