By Lee Chi-dong
SEOUL, June 29 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in called Monday for an "aggressive" approach to surmount the global supply chain crisis, saying it poses a more serious threat to South Korea than Japan's yearlong retaliatory export control.
He urged the government to map out a detailed strategy and plan for South Korea to turn the trouble into an opportunity, speaking during a weekly meeting with his senior Cheong Wa Dae aides.
"In the midst of the COVID-19 situation, protectionism and national egoism are gaining force in the entire world," Moon noted. "The international division of labor is cracking and the global supply chain is rapidly being reorganized."
He described it as a "very serious threat" that is not comparable to Tokyo's existing export curbs against Seoul.
Moon stressed that South Korea should handle the supply chain problem in an aggressive mode, shifting away from a "defensive" stance, and turn the crisis into a chance.
The president cited his administration's bold scheme to transform the nation into a "materials and parts" power and "world factory of state-of-the-art industries."
"I would like you to prepare to report the government's relevant strategy and plan to the people," he said.
His administration is encouraged by its successful response to Japan's restrictions on the shipment of some core industrial products. The Northeast Asian neighbor launched the measure in early July last year amid a longstanding diplomatic row over compensating the Korean victims of Japan's forced labor during World War II.
Moon, meanwhile, said South Korea is confronted with another crucial task of containing the coronavirus and boosting domestic consumption simultaneously, which he called "two rabbits" to be caught.
Half a year into the anti-virus fight, he pointed out, the international community has reported more than 10 million patients and 500,000 deaths.
It's worrisome that confirmed cases are spiking around the globe, and South Korea is continuing to suffer sporadic cluster infections as well, he added.
"However, local infections in South Korea are within a range to be sufficiently managed and controlled," he emphasized, hours after the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) issued its daily update showing 42 additional cases, which are 30 local infections and 12 others from abroad.
On the economic impact from the pandemic, Moon again asked lawmakers to approve another stimulus budget proposal.
Nearly a month earlier, the government submitted a bill on allocating 35.3 trillion won (US$29 billion) worth of supplementary budget, the third package of additional funds since the coronavirus outbreak.
The ruling and opposition parties have yet to begin the process of handling the bill, as they are locked in wrangling over the selection of standing committee chiefs.
"I believe that the National Assembly will no longer ignore the economic suffering of the people caused by COVID-19," Moon said.
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