In His Opening Remarks at the New Year's Press Conference:
Pres. Moon Said, "Deregulation Is A Must
When It Comes to Increasing Corporate Investment
And Identifying New Industries and Services"
The following are excerpts from the opening remarks by President Moon Jae-in at the New Year’s Press Conference on Jan. 10, 2019. - Ed.
The people-centered economy and innovative, inclusive nation being pursued by my Administration are precisely in line with such thinking. Our goal is to create an economy in which all prosper together on the basis of a fair economy with a level playing field where innovative and income-driven growth enable sustainable development. It is all about creating a society where the proverbial dragon can rise from a creek to deliver a promising future. My Administration is taking this economic situation very seriously. However, I want to emphasize that the hardships we are suffering now are even stronger proof of the need for the people-centered economy. An economic policy shift can be truly frightening. It will take time and may generate controversy. However, it is the path that we must take. We will achieve the goal of an innovative, inclusive nation by all means while sufficiently making up for any shortcomings. This year's objective is to make the people clearly see signs in their own lives that the Government's economic policy is heading in the right direction. To that end, tangible outcomes must be produced. This will be a year when SMEs and conglomerates can grow together, microbusiness owners and the self-employed can grow with the people and provincial regions can grow on their specific strengths. What is needed to sustain growth is innovation. Nothing but innovation can make it possible to transform the fast-follower model economy into a pace-setting economy and to create an economy that leads new markets by generating added value. Innovation will help revive existing industries and foster new industries that will become new growth engines. The Government has selected strategic fields for innovative growth and forged an ecosystem for innovative startups. Last year, an all-time high of KR\3.4 trillion was invested in business ventures, and the number of newly-established corporations exceeded 100,000 - the largest ever. The penetration of electric and hydrogen vehicles has risen, laying the groundwork for future growth engines. Prior to 2017, Koreans were driving 25,000 electric vehicles in total, but in last year alone 32,000 new cars were added. The number of hydrogen cars has also soared to 889 from 177. The Government is planning on increasing the number of electric and hydrogen cars to 430,000 and 67,000, respectively. Some 2,000 hydrogen buses will run on the roads. This will greatly help reduce the number of diesel vehicles and the level of fine dust. Beginning this year, investments in strategic, innovative industries will be made in earnest. A total budget of KR\1.5 trillion will be provided for the three major fundamental fields of data, artificial intelligence and the hydrogen economy. An additional KR\3.6 trillion in total will be injected into eight pace-setting projects for innovative growth, including smart factories, smart cities, self-driving cars and drones. The government budget earmarked for research and development surpassed KR\20 trillion for the first time in history. Science and technology, ranging from original technologies to commercialized technologies, will be fused with innovation to produce added value. Innovation will be blended into such tradi-tional flagship manufacturing as the auto-mobile, shipbuilding and petrochemical industries as well. The innovative strategy for manufacturing unveiled last year will be going into full gear. The number of smart factories was only about 300 by 2014, but it will be drastically raised to 30,000 by 2022, including this year's 4,000. The number of smart industrial complexes will also be gradually increased from the two this year up to 10 in total by 2022. Deregulation is a must when it comes to increasing corporate investment and identify-ing new industries and services. The foreign exchange crisis of 1997 left deep scars on our society. That economic crisis that unexpectedly swooped down upon us without any social safety net in place caused anxiety to spread throughout the population. Against this backdrop, all Koreans joined forces, overcame the crisis and achieved economic growth again but failed to halt the deepening job instability and widening socio-economic divides. To expand exports and domestic demand, the two main wheels of the economy, an inclusive growth aimed at jointly sharing their benefits is indispensable. Koreans are entitled to the happiness befitting an era of annual per capita income of US$30,000. This is what an inclusive country is all about. First, my Administration will further strength-en the social safety net and employment safety net. Focus will be placed simul-taneously on increasing job opportunities and improving the quality of employment. Jobs are the very starting point of peoples' lives. The Government will strive to ensure that the social safety net runs in conjunction with the employ-ment safety net. This year, the Earned Income Tax Credit, an incentive for low-income working families, has more than tripled, and the number of people eligible for the incentive has also more than doubled. As a result, a total of 4.9 trillion won will be disbursed to 3.34 million households. My Administration will also build a Korean unemployment assistance system to provide support for living expenses during job searches or re-employment programs. Last year saw a groundbreaking expansion of health insurance coverage, and a lot of people are already feeling the actual effects of lowered medical costs. This year, a renal ultra-sonography and an MRI of the head and abdominal area will be covered by health insurance. Coverage for dental care and traditional Korean medicine will also be expanded. My Administration will strive to ease anxiety and ensure that health insurance alone suffices when receiving medical treatment. Burdens on the shoulders of families with relatives suffering from dementia were halved last year. This year, the number of nursing homes will be increased to better take care of those patients. Three years later in 2022, the Government plans to make sure that one out of every four senior citizens is eligible for medical service house calls. Second, bolder investments will be made in children. Starting this New Year, the monthly child benefit will be disbursed to every family with a young child. The limit on the age of the children targeted will also be raised from 5 to 6. Nationally and locally funded kindergartens are being expanded faster than planned. Last year an additional 500 classes opened, which surpassed the target number. This year, a total of 1,080 new classes, which is about twice that of last year's expansion, will be added. In 2017, a total of 393 nationally and locally sponsored daycare centers were established, and during last year, 574 new centers were set up, far exceeding the target of 450. This year 685 daycare centers will be added, including those at workplaces. Starting from September this year, it will become mandatory to establish a daycare center at an apartment complex with more than 500 households. The Government initially pledged to ensure that four out of every ten children will be able to attend nationally or locally funded daycare centers and kindergartens by 2022, but we will make that happen a year earlier. The trans-parency of private kindergartens has to be increased as well. I ask the National Assembly to pass the three kindergarten-related bills at the earliest date possible. Third, we will deal with safety issues as an overriding national task. As part of the efforts to prevent deaths from industrial accidents, the Government will put into practice relevant countermeasures with a sense of responsibility and determination. Not a single life was lost from a construction crane accident last year thanks to preventative measures. My Administration will halve the number of deaths from industrial accidents by 2022. We will also make concerted efforts to ensure that the recently passed National Assembly act to prevent the outsourcing of hazardous jobs is enforced as intended. Fourth, national competitiveness will be measured by how many skilled innovators we nurture. Before the end of my term in office, we will foster 45,000 master's and PhD degree holders in pace-setting innovative growth areas as well as 40,000 skilled innovators in science and technology as well as information and communication technology. A new university major specializing in artificial intelligence will be established, and relevant assistance will be provided to promote the growth of top-notch software engineers through an academy for innovation. Vocational training for those areas related to new technologies will be greatly expanded, thereby helping job seekers land a job while facilitating business and market growth. The Government will strive to provide the most-needed vocational training at every stage: attending school, seeking employment, working for a company and reentering the job market. Fifth, I will make it clear that small business owners, the self-employed and farmers are the basis of the national economy. Traditional markets and small businesses in neighbor-hoods will be protected and assisted so that they can thrive. Countermeasures will be enhanced to help the small business owners and self-employed suffering from minimum wage hikes. The farm gate price of rice during last year's harvest rose sharply for the first time in years, to KR\193,000 per 80kg sack. This may have helped raise the income of farming house-holds. This year, focus will be placed on reforming the rice subsidy system designed to promote the public good, and smart agri-cultural administration policy will be imple-mented in a way that puts farmers first. Sixth, I will make sure that each and every one of the people can take pride in our culture and enjoy related achievements. I will ensure that our culture will pave the way for future industries. People around the world are enthralled with Hallyu, such as the K-pop boy band BTS and Korean TV dramas. This proves our culture's potential. I will help create an environment in which everyone competes fairly and creators are treated reasonably so that a second BTS and a third Hallyu can emerge. This year, KR\1 trillion will be invested to build culture-related infrastructure for daily life. Subsidies for low-income households will be raised so that they can use a special debit card to pay for diverse cultural activities. A total of 30 sports facilities for people with disabilities will be built, and another subsidized debit card will be given to 5,000 low-income individuals with disabilities to help them take sports-related classes. In the past year, the people opened up a path toward peace. We have become a main player on issues regarding the Korean Peninsula. We have overcome power politics and taken the lead in forging our own destiny. We have experienced and confirmed before our own eyes that our efforts can bring us peace. The path toward peace on the Korean Peninsula still continues to expand even at this moment, and it will speed up even more this year. Peace can drive economic growth. The desire to prosper lies in the people of both South and North Korea. The connection of railroads and roads between the two Koreas will help find new breakthroughs for our economy. Peace on the Korean Peninsula is expand-ing northward and southward. We will move forward to create economic and security communities in Northeast Asia through the New Northern Policy. We will diversify our trading destinations through the New Southern Policy and create a people-centered community of peace and prosperity with countries in those regions. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the March First [3.1] Independence Movement and the establishment of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea. In the past century, we have built an independent democratic republic based on popular sovereignty by breaking free of colonial rule and dictatorship. We are now dreaming of building a peaceful, prosperous and powerful country and overcoming division. We are now passing the last crucial moment of realizing our dream.★