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Pres. Park announces economy and reunification as key priorities

Pres. Park announces economy and reunification as key priorities

Posted February. 26, 2014 02:25,   


In celebration of the first anniversary of her inauguration on Tuesday, President Park Geun-hye said in her statement on the three-year plan of economic reforms, “(The government) will develop a detailed blueprint for ‘reunified Korean Peninsula’ by launching a presidential committee for the preparation of reunification.” This remark, which comes after her mentioning the reunification as a “bonanza” in the New Year press conference, is interpreted as the president’s will to take care of the reunification issue firsthand.

The president selected "economy based on strong fundamentals," "dynamic and innovative economy," and "economic growth through balance between domestic consumption and export" as three key objectives for economic advancement and proposed three tasks for each. By adding the establishment of reunification preparatory committee, she completed setting up the "9+1 tasks" for the administration. This reflects that the government will stake its future on laying foundation for reunification and taking a great leap forward in economic advancement.

The economic reform plan includes the launching of reunification committee because the government sees economic and reunification issues inseparable. While reunification cannot be achieved without the strong economic foundation, reunification will be a great opportunity for economic advancement.

“There are many structural issues to be solved, such as imbalances between export and domestic consumption, large corporations and SMEs, and manufacturing and service industries, and the pace of population aging is faster than any other OECD members. So the economically active population will decrease from 2017… This is a dreadful disaster silently coming,” said the president in the remarks. She emphasized the importance of three-year economic reforms by saying, “There will be no future for us unless we break the protracted cycle of low growth by changing the fundamentals of our economy and rectify abnormal practices.” In other words, she sees the reform plan not just as an economic stimulation measure but as a national reform project that will determine the future of Korea.

The president said in the national economic advisory council and economy-related ministers’ meeting after the speech that “the three-year plan is an action plan to be implemented within her term” and that “objectives should be set up, implemented and achieved to get evaluation from the public,” in order to make sure that the plan is fundamentally different from past reform plans that had suggested a rosy future but fizzled out with the change of administration.

The reform of the public sector has been chosen as the administration’s first task. The president understands that the proposed objectives cannot be achieved during her term unless she gets public supports through a successful reform of the public sector. “When you cross a valley, you can’t go across it inch by inch. You should take a big leap forward… We should not leave any ‘lasting regret’ with the desperation that taking a great leap forward is the only way to go,” said the president.