Deputy Prime Minister Hyun Oh-seok is grappling with the new three-year plan for national economic reform.
Scheduled to be announced late this month, the plan carries significant weight in that it will continue until the final year of the current administration. For the Deputy Prime Minister himself, it can be a chance to show his leadership after President Park Geun-hye’s recent warning against him for the recent information leakage scandal of an unprecedented scale.
“The three-year plan is not a business of the Ministry of Strategy and Finance alone, but has to do with all government arms and has a significant historical meaning as well,” he said at the executive meeting of the ministry held on Feb. 10. He continued to emphasize, “We need to gather our wisdom so that the new plan can contribute to the national economy for not just three years but three decades down the road.” He stressed the importance of communication and cooperation with the private sector, the other ministries, expert groups, etc.
In the afternoon of that day, he moved to the Korea Development Institute (KDI) located in Sejong City to attend the joint task force meeting of the ministry and the institute. The task force had been organized every time the government had prepared new plans for economic development in the past. It was revived at this time for the preparation of the three-year plan.
Earlier on Feb. 7, he met 10 or so North Korea experts, too. This signifies that the new economic development plan could include matters relating to the North. “The Deputy Prime Minister discussed major projects such as the Eurasia Initiative and the Najin-Hasan Project along with how to procure financial resources for reunification as the head of the competent ministry in charge of budget planning,” one of his entourage members commented, adding, “The Deputy Prime Minister showed a deep understanding of the issues because, I think, of his past experience as the president of the KDI.”
According to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the new policy plan focuses on robust economic fundamentals by means of the improved soundness of public organizations, dynamic, creative, and innovative economy for overseas market penetration, and a balance between export and domestic consumption through the promotion of the growth of small firms and employment. “The Korean economy is showing signs of recovery, but we still have a series of structural problems to deal with,” he mentioned, continuing, “What matters now is to shore up our economic structure and fundamentals, which means we need to overhaul it with a broad perspective.”