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(LEAD) Yoon stresses overcoming COVID-19 crisis as transition team sets sail

Politics 16:37 March 18, 2022

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SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) -- President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol asked his transition committee to put top priority on overcoming the COVID-19 crisis, including compensation for small businesses hit by the pandemic, as he presided over the first plenary meeting of the committee.

"The coronavirus is spreading rapidly again," Yoon said during the meeting following a signboard hanging ceremony. "The special panel on the COVID-19 crisis should particularly concentrate on compensation measures for small business owners as well as medical and virus prevention issues."

South Korea reported an all-time high of 621,328 new cases on Thursday amid the spread of the omicron variant.

President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol (3rd from L) poses for a photo with his transition team members and other guests at the office of the presidential committee in Seoul on March 18, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Headed by People's Party chief Ahn Cheol-soo, Yoon's candidacy merger partner, the transition committee comprises seven standing subcommittees along with an advisory group for national unity and special panels for the COVID-19 crisis and balanced regional growth.

The composition of the committee was completed Thursday after Yoon named remaining members.

"All standards of the national agenda should prioritize the people," Yoon said. "You can tell the end of the government by looking at the early days of the government."

Yoon called on the transition team to draw a blueprint for South Korea to become a leading country in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and set goals for solving low growth and polarization issues.

President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol (4th from L), Ahn Cheol-soo (5th from L), chief of the presidential transition committee, and other participants applaud during a ceremony to unveil a plaque displaying the committee's Korean name at its office in Seoul on March 18, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

He also emphasized national unity, saying all people should be given fair opportunities regardless of where they live and that integration can be achieved when people can trust and believe the government.

The former prosecutor general added that transition team members should actively have on-site inspections to find solutions, saying they need to reflect voices outside their offices.

"Most of all, the new government should be a government that completes its job well with abilities and capabilities," he said.

Yoon's inauguration is set for May 10.

President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol (C), People Power Party chief Lee Jun-seok (R) and People Power Party floor leader Kim Gi-hyeon head to a restaurant in Seoul for lunch on March 18, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Yoon later had lunch with the leadership of the People Power Party (PPP) and asked for support in carrying out his campaign pledge to create an extra budget of 50 trillion won (US$41 billion) to compensate small merchants hit by the pandemic.

Yoon also stressed the importance of strengthening municipal power, saying he plans to hold Cabinet meetings often in the central administrative city of Sejong, according to Rep. Chung Jin-suk of the PPP, who was at the lunch meeting.

"A bill to set up a secondary presidential office in Sejong is currently pending in the parliamentary land committee, but we gathered our thoughts to pass the bill before the June 1 local elections," Chung said.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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