Time for full-scale push to revitalize economy : Moon

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday declared a full-fledged policy drive for the clear recovery of the country’s economy, coupled with the firm stabilization of the Covid-19 situation here.

In his parliamentary speech on the state budget, Moon assured lawmakers that the government would create a record high budget, proposed for 2021, with a focus on creating jobs, reinvigorating the economy and winning the fight against the coronavirus, Yonhap news agency reported.

“It’s time to operate full-scale measures to invigorate our economy to put it on a normal track starting next year,” he said during the annual address at the National Assembly.

Moon described a clear economic recovery and a win in the antivirus fight as “two rabbits” that South Korea should catch at the same time without fail.

“First, (the government) will put its priority on a quick and strong economic recovery,” the President said regarding the direction of the government’s fiscal operation plans.

He emphasized the importance of maintaining and creating jobs, saying it is a starting point for an economic recovery, as well as the most important issue associated with people’s livelihoods.

He cited the Korean version of the New Deal aimed at transforming the nation into a “pacesetting” economy via job creation and the development of future growth engines, especially in digital and environment friendly sectors, a project to cost a total of around 160 trillion won.

Moon said South Korea is proving to be a country “strong in crises,” as it has done better so far in both virus control and economic stimulus than many other countries.

South Korea’s economy, the fourth largest in Asia, grew in the July-September period mainly on a rebound in exports after having contracted for two consecutive quarters, according to the Bank of Korea.

The President stressed the need to continue expansionary fiscal policies, but he pledged no negligence in efforts to maintain fiscal soundness apparently through a “bone-cutting” restructuring of budget expenditures.

Moon, meanwhile, made clear that his liberal administration remains determined to curb real estate speculation amid soaring prices of houses, as well as rents and down payments, called “jeonse” here.

The government will “certainly stabilize the jeonse market” by enforcing newly enacted relevant laws with stability and expanding the supply of “good quality middle-sized public-lease apartments,” the President said.

He also requested bipartisan support for the passage of major pending bills, including those on promoting a fair economy.

Moon said the government will strive to reveal the truth behind the case in a transparent and responsible manner.

“On the one hand, it has become a chance to confirm the urgency of a peace regime,” he added, expressing hope for the two Koreas to explore ways for co-existence with a “community for life and safety.”

“Overcoming barriers lying in front of us, one by one, we should move toward peace even if it takes time,” he stressed. “I expect that the South, the North and the international community will leap over obstacles through dialogue and trust and broaden peace from the Korean Peninsula to Northeast Asia.”