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(2nd LD) Moon pledges to bolster local autonomy

All News 12:12 June 14, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS more remarks, info in paras 4, 7-11)

SEOUL, June 14 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday that he will seek to craft a constitutional ground to institute an apparatus for regular dialogue with provincial administrative chiefs, in a move to strengthen local autonomy and bolster cooperation with regional governments.

During a meeting with 17 provincial and metropolitan leaders, he said he would ensure a constitutional amendment likely next year that includes a clause aimed at enhancing the powers of local administrative units. The government is pushing for a referendum on a constitutional revision in tandem with the local elections slated for June 2018.

"When we hold (the referendum on) the revision next year, (we) will seek to craft a constitutional clause to strengthen decentralization and grounds to establish the 2nd Cabinet meeting," Moon said.

"(I) will pursue strong decentralization that is close to a federal system," he added.

President Moon Jae-in speaks during a meeting with the leaders of 17 major provincial governments at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on June 14, 2017. (Yonhap)

During his presidential campaign, Moon pledged to create a "second Cabinet meeting" that involves the heads of major provincial governments, in a bid to foster closer cooperation with them. The installation of the dialogue apparatus requires a law revision, officials said.

Before the revision, Moon said he would hold a meeting with the provincial leaders more often or on a regular basis.

Touching on the meeting's agenda, the president said they would deliberate on an array of issues such as decentralization and regional development.

"If you have any issue to discuss with the president, feel free to ask to convene the meeting anytime," he said.

Moon also used the meeting to stress the need for parliamentary approval for an 11.2 trillion won (US$9.9 billion) extra budget bill aimed mainly at creating jobs for youth.

Among the participants in Wednesday's meeting were Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, Busan Mayor Suh Byung-soo, Gyeonggi Pronvice Governor Nam Kyung-pil and South Chungcheong Province Governor An Hee-jung.

The meeting was also attended by Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, Deputy Prime Minister Kim Dong-yeon, Interior Minister Hong Yun-sik, presidential chief of staff Im Jong-seok and other senior officials.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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