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Pres. Moon offers mediation for COVID relief subsidies

Posted February. 09, 2021 07:40,   

Updated February. 09, 2021 07:40


“Our government will do its best to find a solution that is bold, opportune, sufficient and well within fiscal discretion,” said President Moon Jae-in Monday on the fourth round of COVID-19 relief subsidies.

“Realistically, it isn’t easy to decide what the best solution should be. Everyone needs to pool our wisdom, and lawmakers must make a bipartisan effort to address this issue, said President Moon presiding over a chief aide meeting at Chung Wa Dae. The president has practically saved the face of both Lee Nak-yeon, the chairman of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, and Hong Nam-ki, the finance minister and the deputy prime minister, who are in a standoff over the scale of relief subsidies and the supplement budget for them. “The president endorsed Lee’s stance when he mentioned opportune and sufficient subsidies while standing on the side of the deputy prime minister by stressing fiscal discretion,” said an official from the ruling party.

“It is the government that will shoulder the ultimate responsibility,” said Moon, urging citizens to pool their wisdom and minds together, lending weight to Hong’s stance. “There are demands even from the ruling party calling for him to step down, and the president’s remarks are aimed at protecting Minister Hong while proposing to have more discussion on the fourth round of relief grants,” said an official from the presidential office.

President Moon’s remarks will likely prod the ruling party and the government into getting into the process of ironing out their difference in earnest. In an interview with YTN, Lee Nak-yeon said he hopes to see the subsidies dished out within March. Choi In-ho, the chief spokesperson of the ruling party, said the government-ruling party consultation will be facilitated as the party has promised to provide sufficient subsidies for the people in a timely manner.

Hyung-Jun Hwang constant25@donga.com · Dong-Jun Heo hungry@donga.com