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(LEAD) Lee vows legalization of virtual asset industry

Politics 16:24 January 19, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with election pledges for seniors from 6th para)

SEOUL, Jan. 19 (Yonhap) -- Ruling party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung said Wednesday he will institutionally recognize the virtual asset industry and guarantee various business opportunities.

Lee of the Democratic Party made the remarks in a meeting with heads of the nation's four major cryptocurrency exchanges and industry experts in Seoul, apparently targeting voters in their 20s and 30s who have a relatively strong interest in virtual asset investments.

This file photo shows ruling party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung. (Yonhap)

Lee said he will prepare objective listing standards and make the disclosure system transparent through the legalization of virtual assets. He also promised to monitor unfair trade practices and devise protection regulations to cope with the digital divide.

Lee said he will consider allowing initial coin offerings after establishing sufficient safeguards to protect investors and prevent market disturbances. The candidate said he will also consider permitting the issuance of security tokens based on real assets.

"An existing market doesn't disappear even if our eyes are covered," Lee said, referring to the virtual asset industry. "If we cannot avoid it, we have to get ahead," he said.

In a separate campaign event with senior citizens, Lee said he, if elected president, will pay an annual pension of 1.2 million won (US$1,000) to people age 60 and older until the payment of their public pensions begins.

The pledge is intended to help ease the financial burden of those aged 60 and over who have retired but have not reached the age at which they begin to receive a public pension.

In South Korea, many people retire around the age of 60 but the national pension is paid from the age of 61 to 65, depending on the birth year. The basic pension, which is paid to the bottom 70 percent of the income bracket, is paid from the age of 65.

Lee also promised to increase the number of jobs for seniors from the current 800,000 to 1.4 million by the end of his term.

In addition, he also vowed to expand government support for senior citizen centers' heating and cooling, grain supply and facility improvement costs.

ycm@yna.co.kr
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