(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with Moon's remarks; CHANGES headline)
By Lee Chi-dong
SEOUL, June 18 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in on Thursday emphasized the significance of the envisioned Digital New Deal in South Korea's ambitious bid to lead the post-coronavirus global economy.
He chose a local information technology firm for his first on-site activity in connection with the Digital New Deal initiative, his government's new major project to create jobs, ride out the COVID-19 crisis and revitalize economic growth.
He cited the construction of the Hoover Dam in U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs against the Great Depression.
"The Digital New Deal we intend to do is to build the so-called data dam to maximize the use of data, which is the basis of the digital economy, going forward," Moon said during a meeting with employees at the Gangchon Campus of DUZON Bizon Co., a cloud service provider, in the eastern province of Gangwon. The facilities are located around 60 kilometers east of Seoul.
He likened water in the Hoover Dam to information in the data dam that would lead to positive effects on promoting the digital economy, such as 5G networks, big data, artificial intelligence services and non-contact industries.
"It would become the foundation for South Korea to move toward a pacesetting economy in the post-coronavirus era," he said.
Moon singled out four major tasks to be done in the process -- openness of data use, private information protection, traditional job protection and smooth transfer of the workforce to the digital sector.
The Digital New Deal is one of the two pillars of the Korean version of the New Deal, along with the Green New Deal. The Moon administration hopes to take advantage of the country's ICT prowess.
Presenting its economic policy direction for the latter half of this year, the government announced plans early this month to invest 13.4 trillion won (US$11 billion) in the Digital New Deal and create 330,000 jobs by 2022.
It plans to make public a detailed strategy next month.
Moon's visit to the firm reflects the government's will to "lead the post-coronavirus era by fostering the 'data and AI economy,' which is the foremost undertaking in the 'Korean-version New Deal,'" Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.
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