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(LEAD) Moon links balanced regional development with Korean New Deal

All News 11:07 October 13, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more remarks, details in paras 6-9; ADDS photos, byline)
By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in declared balanced regional development as another pillar of his administration's ambitious Korean New Deal initiative, speaking at a meeting attended by the heads of 17 local governments nationwide Tuesday.

"With a bold balanced regional development plan, the government will push strongly for the Korean-version New Deal as a national development strategy for the future of the Republic of Korea," he said during the second official session to discuss strategies on the New Deal project. The Republic of Korea is South Korea's official name. The move represents a commitment to shifting the axis of national growth to local regions, he added.

Moon, during the meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, presented regional development as a new keyword in the New Deal, along with the two existing ones -- green and digital.

The decision reflects the government's strong will to "transform the Republic of Korea dynamically starting from local areas," according to the president.

President Moon Jae-in (2nd from L) speaks during a meeting with the heads of 17 local governments on Korean New Deal strategies at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Oct. 13, 2020. (Yonhap)

He is seeking synergy between the Korean version of the New Deal and the major policy task of fostering the economic development of regions outside the greater Seoul area.

Moon earlier announced a plan to pour 160 trillion won (US$140 billion) into various public and private programs, including AI government, SOC digitalization, green energy and a smart green industrial complex, as part of efforts to create jobs, revitalize the economy and prepare for the post-coronavirus era.

More than 75 billion won would be spent on projects implemented in or by local areas, Moon said.

Moon stated that his government will spare no incentive and other financial support for relevant New Deal programs.

He suggested that the government, local authorities and the private sector join forces for the speedy implementation of the New Deal drive.

South Korea has long struggled to decentralize the nation, as around half of its 52-million population reside in Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Incheon.

The 17 heads of local governments in attendance included Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung, one of the leading potential presidential candidates; South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo, another ruling Democratic Party heavyweight; and Jeju Gov. Won Hee-ryong, who's regarded as a presidential hopeful of the main opposition People Power Party.

Moon held the first New Deal strategy session at Cheong Wa Dae last month with representatives from the nation's financial sector in attendance.

President Moon Jae-in holds a meeting with the heads of 17 local governments on Korean New Deal strategies at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Oct. 13, 2020. (Yonhap)


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