President Moon Jae-in delivered his New Year address on Jan. 1 in which he said his government’s top goal in improving the quality of people’s lives.
“In the New Year of 2018, I will march forward more dynamically hand in hand with people. (I) will continue efforts to correct the past’s mistakes while concentrating all capabilities to reinvent people’s lives,” President Moon said. He pledged to put the improvement of the quality of people’s lives atop the state agenda.
The national economy has improved for the better, with the reopening of an era of $1 trillion in international trade and restoring an economic growth rate of 3 percent, the chief executive said.
President Moon said he will steadfastly hold up people’s will to make Korea a fair and just society, and hoped to give a boost to people’s integration and economic growth.
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon.
PM: ‘Nation Needs to Make Society Commensurate with $30,000 Average Income’
“In spring, Korea is forecast to top $30,000 per capital income. It is people’s proud achievement, but the $30,000 era will prompt new tasks,” the prime minister said in his New Year’s message.
First, he said people will have to realize $30,000 per capita income evenly.
Secondly, Lee said the national economy should continue to grow without pausing at $30,000.
Thirdly, he said the nation needs to make society commensurate with a $30,000 average income. In particular, he said the government should ensure the protection of people’s lives and safety. The prime minister said the government will sincerely and faithfully carry out all these tasks.
Regarding the stark reality of national security that North Korea is feared to continue military threats in the new year, Prime Minister Lee said the government will make efforts to find optimal solutions together with the international community.
Deputy Minister-Minister of Strategy and Finance Kim Dong-yeon.
Deputy PM: ‘Top Priority of Economic Policies Focus on Tangible Changes in People’s Lives’
In his New Year’s message, Deputy Prime Minister-Minister of Strategy and Finance Kim Dong-yeon said, “The foremost priority of economic policies will focus on tangible changes in people’s lives and the expanding of economic growth potential.”
Minister Kim of the Ministry of Strategy and Finance (MOSF) said, “The New Year will be the first year to usher in an era of $30,000 per capita income.”
Saying that improving people’s lives is as important as economic indexes, MOSF Minister Kim stressed that relieving the burden of living costs of education and housing expenses is as important as promoting balanced development in Seoul vs. rural districts and large-sized vs. small companies.
“Policies people cannot feel first-hand do not amount to policies,” Kim said. He added that the government will do its utmost to make the government’s promised and announced policies achieve results to the extent that people can feel them.
The following are excerpts of his message:
As it comes to our national economy, last year was a significant year with the restoration of an economic growth rate of 3 percent and building the groundwork for an economic paradigm shift.
The New Year will become the first year to usher in an era of $30,000 per capita income. (We’ll) do our best to maintain a solid growth momentum by invigorating economic dynamics.
The improving of people’s lives is as important as economic indexes. (We’ll) strive to relieve the burden of living costs like education and housing expenses. It’s as important as promoting balanced development in Seoul vs. rural districts and large-sized vs. small companies.
To this end, (we’ll) attach this year’s foremost economic policy priority to tangible changes in people’s lives and he expanding economic growth potential. (We’ll) make it a turning point to solve such mid- to long-term challenging tasks as low birth rate.
Policies people cannot sense in person no not amount to policies. (We’ll) do out utmost to make the government’s promised and announced policies achieve results to the extent that people can feel them.
Minister of Foreign Afffairs Kang Kyung-hwa.
MOFA Asked to Play Active Role in Coordination with Int’l Community for Denuclearization of North Korea
President Moon Jae-in called for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to play an active part in improving inter-Korean ties and coordination with the international community for the denuclearization of North Korea, MOFA Minister Kang Kyung-wha said.
Minister Kang made the remarks at a ceremony to kick off the 2018 business year at the MOFA office in Doryeom-dong, Seoul, on Jan. 2. “While presiding over a cabinet meeting this morning, President Moon said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a positive signal to his willingness to have talks for their participation in the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics and the furthering of inter-Korean ties in his New Year’s message.”
Minister Kang quoted President Moon as saying that responding to North Korea’s signal, it’s an urgent task to make the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics an “Olympiad of peace” with their participation, and to regain momentum to start inter-Korean talks. The improving of inter-Korean ties and the denuclearization of North Korea should be pursued simultaneously.
She stressed President Moon’s call for the MOFA to play an active role in coordination with Korea’s four neighboring powers and the international community. If inter-Korean relations will go smoothly, she said, the MOFA will have a lot of work to do, and this year will be a busier year since it has to coordinate bilateral relations and the nation’s position within the international community.
Something needs to be done with China over the THAAD issue and to facilitate real cooperation with Japan in terms of an agreement on Korean comfort women during Japanese colonial rule, Minister Kang said.
Efforts and patient are essential in bearing fruits for real cooperation with Russia, she also added.
Minister of Interior and Safety Kim Boo-kyum.
Call for Solidifying Fundamentals
Minister Kim Boo-kyum of the Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MOIS) emphasized his ministry’s basic task of solidifying the country’s fundamentals.
MOIS Minister Kim made the remarks at a ceremony to kick off the 2018 business year at his ministry on Jan. 2.
“Korea’s local autonomy is still not in full blossom, and the reason for the frequent occurrence of unfortunate disasters is due to lacking of substance, but making a good show superficially,” he lamented. Government officials know well the where problems are, and people no longer wait, Minister Kim said. He added that now is the time to concentrate on substance, not making superficial gestures.
Minister Kim said his ministry will faithfully stick to neutrality ahead of the upcoming revision of the Constitution and local polls, citing an ancient saying, “Do not retie your shoelace in a melon field (if you want to avoid suspicion).”
Starting with the message, he offered condolences to two firefighters, Lee Young-uk and Lee Ho-hyun, who died while combating fires; Kwon Sam-ju, a safety team chief at Gokseong County, who worked himself to death; and Han Dae-sung, a quarantine team chief in Pocheon City, who died while carrying out duty.
Minister of Science and ICT Yoo Young-min.
Policy Push for Realization of 4th Industrial Revolution
Minister Yoo Young-min of the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) delivered his New Year’s message in which he called his ministry will speed up in implementation of policies to realize the human-oriented 4th Industrial Revolution through science, technology and ICT at a ceremony to kick off the 2018 business year at the Government Complex in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi-do, on Jan. 2.
MSIT Minister You called for innovation of the national R&D system. “We’ll strive to raise the expertise and efficiency of R&D investments while building a regime to lead the innovation of a technology-industry society by raising innovation capabilities of industry, academia and research sectors as well as districts,” he said.
You said his ministry will continue to invest in researcher-oriented basic research in a long-term perspective, even if they don’t yield immediate outcomes, while creating an environment in which prominent gifted manpower with creativity and attributes for convergence rush to the engineering colleges.
Secondly, he said his ministry plans to lead the innovation for the whole of industry and society by building a super-connected intelligence infrastructure based on data, networking and AI (DNA).
“We’ll spur the building and utilizing of data, core sources of the 4th Industrial Revolution, while creating a super-connection network like the world’s first commercialization of the 5G network and securing the global competitiveness of such intelligence technologies like A.I.,” Minister Kim said.
Thirdly, he called for his ministry to take a lead in raising the quality of people’s lives through science technology and ICT.
The minister called for the nation’s successful hosting of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics and publicizing Korea’s science technology and ICT prowess to the world to raise the nation’s global standing.
Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Paik Un-gyu.
MOTIE to Draw Innovative Growth Strategies in Each Industry and Each Business Sector
Minister Paik Un-gyu of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) said his ministry plans to come up with innovative growth strategies in each industry and each business sector to revitalize industries.
MOTIE Minister Paik made the remarks at a ceremony to kick off the 2018 business year at the ministry on Jan. 2. Korea will ramp up strategic collaboration with Russia in nine areas, including electricity, gas and shipbuilding, he said.
“Our industries will have to accelerate and spread innovative growth,” Minister Paik said. “(MOTIE) will have to build national innovation clusters as regional centers for promoting innovative growth and spread innovative growth to the whole of the nation by expanding innovation capacities each district needs,” the minister added.
The ministry will overhaul business structure and management systems to make the industry R&D sector an innovative growth leader, he added.
Minister Paik said, “Mid-size super star companies will be nurtured as new growth leaders, and (the government) will establish and implement the Mid-size Company Vision 2280 and build an ecosystem of collaboration for co-prosperity in which large-, medium- and small-sized companies can create values together.”
As to an energy policy paradigm shift, Paik stressed the utilization of opportunities to find future energy growth engines and create jobs. The government has promised people energy policy shift like reducing the use of nuclear power on a gradual basis, expanding new and renewable energy use, and converting coal-fired power plants into eco-friendly ones, he said. Minister Paik called for exploring future energies industries, including new and renewable as well the decommissioning nuclear power units as future growth opportunities and creating jobs.
Paik urged the energy industry to raise energy efficiency and create new industries by employing such 4th Industrial Revolution technologies as big data and IoT and reflecting them into energy policies. The 3rd national energy master plan, to be established this year, is expected to make a detailed blueprint of the future energy industry, he said.
Minister Paik said the government will take a firm position during talks on Free Trade Agreements with the United States and China while strengthening strategic cooperation with Russia, ASEAN and India.
Korea will take a resolute position during talks to renegotiate the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement while building future-forward cooperative ties in several areas such as energy and advanced industries, he said. The nation will move toward full-scale and real relations with China through additional negotiations on service investments of the Korea-China FTA. Korea will ramp up strategic cooperation with Russia in nine areas, including electricity, gas and shipbuilding, while seeking to implement economic cooperation tailored to meet the characteristics of ASEAN and India, he said.
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Kim Yung-rok.
MAFRA Minister Stresses ‘Agriculture Reform’
In his New Year’s message, Minister Kim Yung-rok of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) revealed the New Year’s theme as “agriculture reform.” The MAFRA minster said his ministry will launch agriculture reform in earnest to help farmers farm without worry and people consume produce without misgivings. He revealed a plan to implement 10 major policies so that state agendas can produce tangible outcomes.
The 10 major policies he referred to include the strengthening of safety measures to stabilize the supply and demand of agricultural produce; the stabilizing of farmers’ incomes and coping with disasters; creating of youth jobs in the agricultural and food industries; spreading of smart farms (4th Industrial Revolution); improving of livestock farming conditions; eco-friendliness and food safety; improving of people’s nutrition and dietary life; avian influenza-free Korea; the growth of the food and restaurant industries; and improving rural life quality and welfare.
Minister Kim said his ministry will concentrate its capabilities to prevent the spread if avian influenza to make the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games a success. “Korea will be made safe from avian influenza and foot-and-mouth disease,” he said.
Such preventative measures as the restricting of duck farming and checking areas vulnerable to the epidemics will be undertaken, the minister said.
Recognizing the fact that tariff reductions after signing FTAs have gone into effect, putting Korean agricultural produce in stiff competition with foreign imports in the domestic market, Minister Kim sad that his ministry plans to aggressively respond to the government’s stand of opening the Korean agricultural sector during renegotiations of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
Commissioner Kim Yung-moon of the Korea Customs Service.
Call to Build Water-tight Border Surveillance Network to Ensure Safe Olympiad
In his New Year’s message, Commissioner Kim Yung-moon of the Korea Customs Service (KCS) said on Jan. 2 that the KCS will devote itself to ensuring the safety of the nation’s borders while hosting the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.
“We, considering the KCS as the final bastion of safety, will have to build a water-tight border surveillance network with an antiterrorist task force taking the initiative, to block the smuggling of items that may be used for terrorist acts.”
On the other hand, he said the KCS will spare no efforts to provide support to the fast customs clearance of items being used for the Olympiad and athletic delegations.
The KCS will overhaul regulations so that items proven to be legal can be cleared as soon as possible, Commissioner Kim said. He also said the KCS will minimize inconveniences people experience in such areas as e-commerce transactions and hand-carry items. Kim emphasized such principles as fair taxation, the building of an environment free from illegal transactions and a dynamic work environment.
Touching upon earlier allegations, including corruption surrounding the selection of duty-free business proprietors, the commissioner said the KCS is now back on the right track thanks to its in-house self-purification and institutional reform.
Minister Kim Jae-hyun of the Korea Forest Service.
Focus on ‘Human-Oriented Forest Resources Circulation’ Economy
In his New Year’s message, Minister Kim Jae-hyun of the Korea Forest Service (KFS) said, “(We at the KFS) will redouble efforts to help all people live a happy and warm-hearted life with the woods.”
First, he called for job creation in the forest sector by building a “forest resources circulation’ economy.”
“Business models will be explored by utilizing the forest resources of each district society, with those in the forest industry spearheading efforts to nurture the forest industry,” he said. “Functions of each policy theme will be clarified through the building of governance, and a chain of a forest resources circulation economy will be complemented with lacking areas being filled with new jobs.”
Secondly, he said, “Forests will be made into rest areas.” The KFS will expand the commissioning of forest welfare businesses to the private sector so that people can enjoy diverse forest services, and forest welfare models will be suggested with the participation of neighborhood residents and those in the forest industry.
Thirdly, Minister Kim said, the KFS will make mountain villages and cities human-oriented green space.
Fourthly, he said, the KFS will protect public safety from forest disasters and the soundness of the forest ecosystem.
He also called for exchanges and cooperation on the Korean Peninsula, as well as the expansion of international forest cooperation. Lastly, he called for an overhaul of the forest administration system for the smooth execution of state affairs.