Yoon pledges to turn S. Korea into 'new maritime power'
By Lee Haye-ah
SEOUL, May 31 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol pledged Tuesday to turn South Korea into a "new maritime power" based on stable shipping supply chains and advanced infrastructure technology.
Yoon made the remarks during a ceremony marking the 27th National Oceans Day in Busan, a port city 330 kilometers southeast of Seoul, which was expected to draw some 1,000 attendees, including representatives from the government, the National Assembly, and the maritime and fisheries industries.
Yoon noted that rapid changes in the maritime environment are posing unprecedented challenges to the maritime and fishing industries, pointing to the declining and aging populations of fishing villages, the erosion of fishing resources, growing competition in international trade, and the fight for maritime hegemony among South Korea's neighboring countries.
"At times like this, we must combine our strengths under the goal of building a new maritime power to overcome crises and use this as an opportunity for an economic rebound," he said.
"A stable shipping supply chain must be established to support our country's exports and imports," he continued, calling for the further digitalization of necessary infrastructure, such as smart automated ports and environment-friendly autonomous ships.
"The government will ease unnecessary regulations to promote investment, so that private sector investment in smart shipping and logistics industries can increase," Yoon said.
"We will support the establishment of a stable distribution network by expanding the transportation capacities of South Korea-flagged vessels and securing overseas distribution bases, such as ports and distribution centers," he added.
Yoon also said the government will focus on improving living and working conditions in fishing villages so that more young people will want to live there.
He said the government will need to invest boldly in maritime science and technology and future industries to create a dynamic maritime economy, including by expanding exploration and research in the oceans and polar regions
Yoon pledged to preserve the country's maritime territory and environment for future generations. He then vowed to keep his promise to make Busan a key center for the country's economic development and to channel the government's efforts to win the country's bid to host the 2030 World Expo in Busan.
National Oceans Day was established in 1996 and is celebrated on May 31 to mark the day Admiral Jang Bogo of the Unified Silla (668-918) era installed a base in Cheonghaejin to defend the coasts and trade with China and Japan.
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