SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Yonhap) – President Park Geun-hye announced a package of ambitious measures Tuesday to boost South Korea’s economy and fix various problems hampering its growth, vowing to raise the country’s potential growth rate to 4 percent by 2017.
In a nationally-televised address, Park also pledged to make South Korea’s per capita national income rise to over US$30,000 and head toward $40,000, while raising the employment rate to 70 percent through a “three-year economic innovation plan.”
“There will be no future for us, unless we break the protracted cycle of low growth by changing the fundamentals of our economy and rectify abnormal practices,” Park said in the address held on the first anniversary of her inauguration.
Park first outlined the economic reform plan during her New Year’s news conference last month, saying it would focus on strengthening economic fundamentals by rectifying problematic practices deeply rooted in South Korean society, pursuing her signature “creative economy” vision and boosting domestic demand.
Tuesday’s announcement was a fleshed-out version of this vision.
Park renewed her commitment to reforming debt-ridden public institutions, removing investment-hampering regulations, rooting out unfair market practices, strengthening the country’s social safety net, realizing her “creative economy” vision, and pursuing more free trade deals.
She also said she will launch a preparatory committee for unification with North Korea.
South Korea has seen relatively low growth in recent years amid global economic difficulties. The plan seeks to help Asia’s fourth-largest economy break out of the protracted sluggish trend and make what Park calls a “quantum jump.”
The move suggests that Park sees the economy as a priority in her second year in office and that she is committed to making the ambitious vision a reality, as the time-definite plan requires tangible results before her term ends in early 2018.
The plan is also reminiscent of a series of “five-year economic development plans” that her father and former President Park Chung-hee carried out to lift South Korea from poverty in the 1960s and ‘70s. Those plans are credited by many observers for laying the groundwork for the country’s meteoric economic rise.