SEOUL, Jan. 4 (Yonhap) -- Ruling party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung pledged Tuesday to build South Korea into the fifth most powerful country in the world with an income per capita of US$50,000.
Lee made the promise during a New Year's press conference held at a Kia car plant in Gwangmyeong, southwest of Seoul. The factory is considered the birthplace of South Korea's auto industry and a symbol of the 1997 financial crisis.
"I will run toward a national income of $50,000 with the aim of establishing the fifth most powerful nation in the world," the Democratic Party nominee said. South Korea's current per capita income is above $30,000.
"In the same way that I beat extreme poverty and disability, hardships and crises in my life, I will overcome the crisis facing the Republic of Korea together with the people of whom I am proud," he continued. "I will become a president of the economy and of people's livelihoods who is strong and capable in the face of crisis."
Lee said he will bring soaring house prices under control and expand government compensation for businesses hit by the pandemic.
To tackle the climate crisis, he vowed to establish a foundation for a carbon neutral society.
Lee also pledged to pursue pragmatic diplomacy driven by national interests to rise above the growing rivalry between the United States and China and establish a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
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