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Moon urges National Assembly to support ‘Korean New Deal,’ peace drive

President Moon Jae-in addresses the National Assembly on Thursday. (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in addresses the National Assembly on Thursday. (Yonhap)

President Moon Jae-in on Thursday urged the National Assembly to realize “politics of cooperation” and called on political parties to support his administration’s social and economic reforms, and peace drive.

The 21st National Assembly held a ceremony officially marking the start of parliamentary proceedings, 48 days after its term began on May 30, due to discord between the ruling and main opposition parties.

Addressing the parliament at the opening ceremony, Moon said that the National Assembly remains far short of the public’s expectations despite its many achievements in the past.

“I think that the biggest failure was failure in politics of cooperation,” Moon said, adding that despite promising to achieve cooperation between ruling and opposition blocs, and attempts to communicate across the aisle, the promises were not kept.

“There is no need to assign blame, we cannot but admit that it’s all our collective fault, including myself. The 21st National Assembly must end the era of hostile politics and open the era of cooperative politics.”

Saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has made cooperation among the parties all the more important, Moon said that Korea’s future hangs in the balance.

Listing the country’s efforts to overcome the crisis and milestones it has set such as dealing with the pandemic and carrying out the general elections without causing a single virus infection, Moon urged the lawmakers to support the efforts to turn the country into a “leading nation.”

Saying that the world is going through unprecedented changes, Moon said that the country must lead the changes if it is to advance.

“The ‘Korean New Deal’ is key to a new future. It is a national advancement strategy to rise as a leading nation,” Moon said.

The deal is a massive government-led project that will see over 114 trillion won ($94.5 billion) investment from the central government by 2025 with the aim of creating 1.9 million jobs. The plan focuses on applying latest information technology and eco-friendly technologies to existing industries and infrastructure.

The plans also include measures for strengthening social security, rolling out new vocational training programs and offering government subsidies and support to a larger range of jobs.

Saying that the National Assembly’s cooperation is critical to the success of the plans, Moon urged the lawmakers to revise regulations that may hinder development, and sought their cooperation on bills concerning social security.

Moon also touched on major social issues, including his administration’s real estate policies. His administration has rolled out major real estate policy packages on a number of times, but has failed to curb real estate speculation, and large price hikes particularly in Seoul.

Listing plans such as increasing taxes on multiple homeowners, Moon pledged that the government will “make it clear that real estate speculation can no longer lead to profits,” and called for the National Assembly’s cooperation in related bills.

The president also raised the issue of a high-level government official investigation body, urging the parliament to nominate its chief and move forward with related proceedings.

The issue of inter-Korean relations was also included in his speech, where he hinted at hopes for elements of inter-Korean agreements to be passed into law.

“(The government) will do its best to ensure that the three principles of disallowing war, mutual guaranteeing of security and co-prosperity can be put into practice,” Moon said.

“If the National Assembly guarantees the irreversibility of ‘peace on the Korean Peninsula,’ the foundations for the drive for peace will be further strengthened. I hope that institutionalization of the results of inter-Korean summits, and the first-even inter-Korean parliamentary meeting can be realized in the 21st National Assembly.”

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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