Go to contents

Sejong City to Become Biz Hub, Not Gov`t District

Posted January. 12, 2010 08:37,   


Sejong City will become a business hub driven by education and science by attracting large corporations and prestigious universities to relocate there.

Prime Minister Chung Un-chan yesterday announced this and other revisions to the Sejong City project, with the government scrapping its original plan to relocate 11 public agencies there. The city will be built in the Yeongi-Gongju area of South Chungcheong Province.

President Lee Myung-bak will hold a news conference this week to explain details of the revised plan. He is also considering visiting the Chungcheong region this month.

To this end, the government will attract the International Science Business Belt to Sejong City and establish the Korea Rare Isotope Accelerator, Basic Science Research Institute and Convergence Research Center by 2015.

The date of the city’s establishment will also be pushed up from 2030 to 2020.

Moreover, 3.5 trillion won (3.1 billion U.S. dollars) of additional public funds will go into the science belt. The government will also seek private investment of 4.5 trillion won (four billion U.S. dollars), thus almost doubling the planned investment in the project to 16.5 trillion won (14.7 billion dollars).

Prime Minister Chung said, “A person or nation should keep a promise. But I believe a leader should make a courageous decision and correct wrongdoings when a promise made in the past carries with it political intentions.”

The domestic conglomerates such as Samsung, Hanwha, Woongjin and Lotte and the Austrian company SFF will invest more than 4.5 trillion won (four billion dollars) in Sejong City and hire nearly 23,000 employees by 2020.

Five Samsung affiliates including Samsung Electronics, Samsung SDI and Samsung LED will pursue solar power generation, fuel cells, LEDs, data processing, call centers and bio healthcare in the city.

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Korea University will run research-driven campuses and graduate schools as they will invest 601.2 billion won (537 million dollars) and 770 billion won (688 million dollars), respectively.

At a meeting of senior presidential secretaries, presidential spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye said, “The revised Sejong City plan is a genuine policy issue that should be separated from political issues.”

Ruling Grand National Party leader Chung Mong-joon said, “Koreans will put higher priority on national interests and make a wise judgment from a long-term perspective.”

Former party chief Park Geun-hye, who has opposed revision of the Sejong City plan, did not respond to the announcement. A pro-Park lawmaker said, however, “She has already expressed her opinion.”

Four opposition parties also protested the revision, blasting the government for trying to nullify the project and calling the revisions “an ineffective and empty policy.”

The main opposition Democratic Party and the minor conservative Liberty Forward Party agreed to submit a resolution to impeach Prime Minister Chung to the National Assembly. The four opposition parties will also cooperate with civic organizations to fight the revision.

pen@donga.com koh@donga.com