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(LEAD) Yoon calls for removing 'deep-rooted evils' blocking growth

All News 16:50 December 21, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with additional remarks by Yoon)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, Dec. 21 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk Yeol called Wednesday for removing "deep-rooted evils" blocking the nation's growth and pushing for reforms especially in labor, pensions and education.

Yoon issued the call while receiving a briefing from the finance ministry on its plans for the new year. The president is set to receive similar briefings from all ministries and major government agencies through January.

President Yoon Suk Yeol receives a policy briefing from the finance ministry at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Dec. 21, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol receives a policy briefing from the finance ministry at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Dec. 21, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

"Our government carried out policies this year that focused on responding first to urgent current issues in order to smoothly overcome the wave of the global economic crisis," Yoon said during the meeting at the former presidential compound of Cheong Wa Dae.

"Now we must get rid of the wrong systems that block our growth and development, these deep-rooted evils, and begin reforms to improve the systems," he said.

Yoon singled out labor, education and pension reforms as essential tasks that must be completed for future generations even if they are unpopular. It was the first time Yoon mentioned removing "deep-rooted evils," a slogan of the previous Moon Jae-in government, as part of his own administration's goals.

Of the three top areas of reform, Yoon again emphasized the importance of reforming the labor market. In particular, he called for improving the market's "dual structure," a reference to the gap in wages and working conditions between big business employees on the one hand and non-regular workers and small business employees on the other.

He also called for properly establishing the rule of law in labor-management relations in order to reduce disputes and shift the associated cost to enhancing workers' welfare.

Yoon described corruption in labor unions as one of the top three types of corruption that need to be eliminated, along with corruption in public office and in business.

"The best way to stop corruption in business was transparency. Ultimately, by strengthening accounting transparency, we were able to grow our businesses into global enterprises," Yoon said. "Labor union activities also can develop in a healthier manner only on a foundation of transparent accounting."

The meeting at Cheong Wa Dae also served as the 12th edition of the emergency economic and public livelihood meeting and the inaugural national economic advisory meeting.

It was attended by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho, other ministers, and SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won in his capacity as head of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Christopher Koo, chief of the Korea International Trade Association, among others.

Yoon said in his closing remarks that he hopes to tackle the current economic challenges through the two pillars of exports and startups.

"I believe the government should strengthen financial assistance for startups even though you may think doing so lacks efficiency," he said. "I would like us to support venture firms and startups with the finance ministry in the lead to help our future generations take on exciting challenges."


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