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President reaffirms efforts to build 'inclusive' nation

National 15:44 February 19, 2019

SEOUL, Feb. 19 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday reaffirmed his efforts to build what he calls an inclusive nation that guarantees the safety and basic needs of all people.

"Living a happy life is a basic right the people must enjoy," the president said in a meeting to review and announce government steps to build an "innovative, inclusive nation."

"Without innovative growth, building an inclusive nation will be difficult, but without inclusion there is also no innovative growth," Moon added in opening remarks at the meeting attended by some 40 government officials, legislators and residents, including Health and Welfare Minister Park Neung-hoo.

Tuesday's meeting came about five months after the president held the first-ever meeting aimed at discussing ways to build an inclusive nation.

President Moon Jae-in (C) speaks in a meeting with local residents held in Nowon-gu, eastern Seoul, on Feb. 19, 2019 to announce government steps aimed at building an innovative, inclusive nation. (Yonhap)

Under the measures revealed Tuesday, the government will expand its childcare allowances to all children under the age of 7 from September. Currently, children under the age of 6 are entitled to the monthly allowance.

It will also expand health insurance coverage while reducing the minimum amount of costs a medical patient must bear to 5 percent of the total from the current 10 percent.

"If the measures announced today are realized without disruption, by 2022, each and every one of our people from the young to the aged, from workers to self-employed people and whether one has disabilities or not, will enjoy basic life standards," the president told the meeting.

The president said an inclusive nation will mean strong and reliable social safety nets, as well as high-quality social services.

It will also entail increased opportunities for each individual.

"Anyone will be able to study as much as they want without having to worry about money or fears of failure and enjoy a comfortable life in retirement. Challenges and innovations based on such a foundation will guide our economy to innovative growth," Moon said.

An inclusive nation will also mean more and better jobs, as well as more time for people to spend with their loved ones, according to the government.

"We will make sure you can spend more time more often with your children as they grow up but that your income does not shrink," the president said.

Moon said such efforts will require many changes.

"Changes are always scary. But we built the world's 11th-largest economy with our bare hands in just about 70 years after facing colonial rule and a war," he said.

"I am confident we can spearhead the change as an inclusive nation, if our people's strengths and virtues are put together, and that the inclusive nation we build will set a new model for the rest of the world," the president added.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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