SEOUL, KOREA – Park Geun-hye, the presidential candidate of the conservative ruling Saenuri Party, became the first female president in Korea. The main frame of the President-elect’s state administration comes down to ‘Citizen’s happiness’, which contrasts with Lee Myung-bak administration’s emphasis on national growth through ‘Small government and free market’. It is said that Lee’s administration achieved growth throughout the entire economy over the past five years, but a majority of individual lives became much tougher.
At the first press conference since Park was elected, she emphasized that she will break the chain of chronic division and conflict that lasted for the past half century. Park set ‘national unity’, ‘political reform, ‘employment and economic democratization’, and ‘growth of middle class’ as an indicator of state affairs. ‘National unity’ aims at creating a country where people live in harmony without discrimination and preferentialism. ‘Political reform’ refers to three keywords with clean, serving and communicating politics. ‘Employment and economic democratization’ emphasizes an economic system where good jobs are constantly created and growth is spread throughout the economy. Last but not least, she plans to raise the middle class without having to worry about debt, housing, education and employment to 70%.
Park said that, “As negligence from growth is concentrated on some classes, it has widened the gap and contained growth potential.” For the sustainable development and job creation of the Korean economy, she says that this must be amended. In this sense, her priority of state affairs will be economic democratization. She plans to develop a ‘Happy economic system’ where SMEs can grow with equal opportunities and fair compensation.
The president-elect pledged to pursue economic democratization under three principles. First, she will pursue economic democratization to truly support the economically disadvantaged. Second, policies which impose a heavy burden on the citizen will be approached in phases. Third, the strength of large companies should be built up to the fullest but faults should be fixed at any cost. On top of this, the pledges include remarkable improvement of fair trade laws and enforcement, strictly handling of illegal act of large company CEOs, and improvement of corporate governance.
Korean ICT industry, which has been neglected during Lee’s administration, is expecting that the president will boost the industry in the new government. With an electronic engineering educational background, Park made a commitment during the campaign that she would make ICT an exclusive sector for new growth engine. The pledges are to set up a ministry taking full charge of the ICT sector, to establish an ICT technology trading center, to organize ‘Content Korea Lab’ for boosting content industry, to relax regulations of pay TV, and to abolish a membership fee of mobile phones.
Park plans to develop the content industry to be the core industry of ICT eco-system, and to foster the media industry to be the future growth industry. To this end, she plans to extensively review the integration of the information, communication, and media policy functions scattered in each ministry and the set up the exclusive ministry for ICT.
On top of this, she emphasized that, “I will make Korea the global ICT powerhouse by strengthening global competitiveness of ICT industry with openness and sharing.” She pointed out that the global competition environment is now shifting from race among businesses to among eco-systems. However, as the Korean ICT eco-system, she says, is still a hardware-oriented industrial policy, it is necessary to build an eco-system comprised of hardware, software, and content.
The winner of the presidential election emphasized authority of lawmakers who have long been criticized for ‘not working yet enjoying privilege’ will also be amended. First of all, immunity from arrest of lawmakers is expected to be abolished, and their immunity will strictly be limited. All of the members of Special Committee on Ethics will be comprised of outsiders.
Park emphasized that she will make ‘Government 3.0’ with three keywords – transparent, competent, and service government. To this end, she pledged that openness, sharing, and cooperation will be the core values of running the government. ‘Government 3.0’ aims at individual happiness beyond two-way ‘Government 2.0’. She said that she will create a transparent government which lets citizens know what the government is working on, and also make it possible for the government to create, accumulate, and share more knowledge with citizens.
As for welfare benefits, there are massive blind spots for the socially unprivileged. Because the welfare delivery system has been centered on suppliers, it caused ineffectiveness and did not satisfy various welfare demands from citizens. Park’s welfare system includes strengthening the social safety net to provide income security and welfare service in a balanced way, to expand the employment welfare system that creates income and simultaneously achieve self-realization through work. Plus, Park aimed at strengthening the connection of welfare and employment in order for working people not to be trapped in poverty.
Park’s diplomacy keyword is trust diplomacy. She said that, “The starting point for the new Korean peninsula is trust. We should build up national trust, South-North trust, and international trust”. To this end, she proposed three conditions. First is to make sustainable peace. “Security is first and true peace should be built up based on trust and cooperation. We should make conditions where North Korea can make the right decision and our inter-Korean policy should also evolve.” Secondly, she emphasized the importance of actively participating in dealing with global issues with active diplomacy. “Korea will gain more trust from the world when we take on role as a responsible nation.”