Korea’s regional municipalities shall be the main agent for drawing up and driving their own regional development plans.
President Park Geun-hye said on March 12 at an investment promotion and regional development meeting, “The first thing we have to keep in mind when drawing up regional development plans and strategies is that each region has its own characteristics and conditions. Residents and their municipalities are the ones who know best the situation of the region.”
Park added, “We have to change the paradigm in a way that municipalities, residents, and regional businesses take the initiative in drawing up development plans and strategies.”
At the meeting, the government ironed out a series of measures to bolster regional investment and development, and decided to ease development restrictions still remaining under “greenbelt” development bans. Considering the characteristics of each region, the government also designated specialized development projects by region and promised national support for the projects.
The regional specified projects, which the 15 regional governments will select for future growth engines, are to be carried out in the manner of role shares by each local municipality and the central government. The local municipalities are responsible for things like project planning, site development support, and the attraction of companies. The central government will focus on things like support project funding, deregulation, technology development and commercialization.
The regional autonomies proposed two or three projects in Feb. to total 37 projects, and the central government narrowed them down to 15 projects by assigning one project to each local municipality. Specifically, Busan Metropolitan City will specialize in visual entertainment, Daegu in software convergence, Incheon in the establishment of a service industry hub, Gwangju in cultural content, Daejeon in defense ICT, Woolsan in eco-friendly batteries, Gyeonggi Province in the establishment of an ecological and peace belt close to the demilitarized zone (DMZ), Gwangwon Province in healthcare, North Choongcheong Province in the biotech industry, South Choongcheong Province in the display industry, North Jeolla Province in the agriculture and life industry, South Jeolla in marine tourism, North Gyeongsang Province in IT convergence, South Gyeogsang Province in aerospace and aviation, and Jeju in lava water convergence industry.
Among the selected projects, 11 projects are regional presidential election pledges by President Park Geun-hye.
The deregulation and regional development projects are aimed mainly at spurring investments for revitalizing the national economy. The government expects these measures will incur 14 trillion won (US$13 billion) worth of investments in the regions.