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Smiling ministers vs. troubled ministers

Posted March. 22, 2014 02:59,   


Ministers who participated at a “do-or-die forum” held at the presidential office on Thursday have shown conflicting feelings according to their affiliations. Some ministers shared “consensus” with President Park Geun-hye who has displayed strongest ever commitment to regulatory reform, while others struggled in the face of the president’s blasting, which started with her cutting of their statements by saying “wait a minute.”

The private- and public-sector joint meeting on regulatory reform review at the Guest House in the presidential office was broadcast on TV and webcasted live on Thursday. Hence, ministers’ answers to civil complaints against regulations and the president’s words of encouragement were made public without reservations.

Watchers say that Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Yoo Jin-ryong was most conspicuous at the forum among the ministers in attendance.” On regulation that bans construction of tourist hotels around schools, Yoo drew attention from the public by frankly saying, “We are dying to find a solution as well.” Yoo also said, “All regulatory matters that our ministry oversees, such as tourism and computer games, have become targets for eradication.”

Watches say that Noh Dae-rae, chief of the Fair Trade Commission, passed the forum relatively unscathed, because regulations under the commission’s responsibility were matters that are left "unaffected" by the regulatory reform drive. When President Park stated that her administration will categorize "necessary regulations" and "unnecessary regulations" and remove them selectively, she took regulations related to fair trade as an example of necessary regulations.

In contrast, Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Yoon Sang-jik and Government Policy Coordination Minister Kim Dong-yeon under the Prime Minister’s Office lost face at the forum compared with other ministers. Yoon made a mistake by informing Call Center 1381 on certification rules, which has yet to be launched, as if it had opened. Government Policy Coordination Minister Kim reported to the president that “of those regulations that were singled out as regulations that should be removed, 40 percent cannot (be removed) or have yet to be reviewed,” only to be scolded by President Park, who said that “then why your ministry picked them as regulations that must be addressed?”