|President-elect Park Geun-hye speaks at a meeting with business leaders in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap News)|
The presidential transition committee on Thursday announced key policy agenda for the incoming Park Geun-hye government, aiming to usher in “an era of people’s happiness” through a creative economy, wider welfare, a safe and united society, and a foundation for national reunification.
The next government will integrate the operation of the national pension and basic pension from July next year to create the “People’s Happiness Fund” to provide between 40,000 won and 200,000 won in additional subsidies based on income, the committee said.
As part of prosecution reform, the powerful Central Investigation Department of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, specializing in cases involving government, business and political circles, will be abolished within this year. Its function will be taken over by new departments for special investigation to be installed at the district prosecutors’ offices. A special inspection body will be established to deal with irregularities involving presidential families and associates, the committee said.
Amid escalated tension following North Korea’s Feb. 12 nuclear test, the handover office also reaffirmed its commitment to robust security and decided to raise the defense budget by a greater percentage than the increase in overall government spending.
The five goals, 21 strategies and 140 tasks were compiled during the seven weeks of the committee’s operation since Park’s election last December, and will set the government’s direction for the next five years.
To establish the foundation of unification of the two Koreas, the Park government pledged to establish sturdy defense posture, fortify defense alliances and cooperation with neighboring countries, normalize relations with Pyongyang through a trust-building process, envision a peace cooperation structure in Northeast Asia, expand cooperation with Eurasia and buttress advances into emerging markets.
Park also reaffirmed her commitment to the six-party talks process to tackle North Korea’s nuclear issue, and to establish in steps the three-way strategic dialogue with U.S. and China at a government level.
On the home front, Park’s team promised to create an ecosystem of innovation-based economy centered on job creation, reinforce growth engines, foster small and medium-sized businesses, develop science technology and establish principle-based order in the market economy.
To questions about the reason behind the omission of the term “economic democratization” from their report, the transition team members said the same mantra was reflected in all relevant tasks and that the term would be used alternately with “principled-based market economy.”
“Our country’s economic size has grown to that of developed nations, but the level of people’s happiness remains low,” said committee chairman Kim Yong-joon at a press conference, flanked by all members of his team.
“It is the duty of the time for the Park Geun-hye administration to create a society where people’s happiness and national development roll in a virtuous cycle, based upon which the new era of the Korean Peninsula is launched to develop into a model state that contributes to the happiness of the world.”
To provide tailored employment and welfare, the government will be establishing tailored welfare services, and support the people’s living expenses and stabilize the employment environment, the team said.
For better education, public education will be propped up, the college entrance examination system simplified, and vocational education fostered.
The team also underscored their attention to providing higher social security from increasing crimes against women and children, while seeking to enhance the protection of children’s human rights.
The new government also pledged to buttress the crisis management system and prepare measures to counter climate changes.
To improve social cohesion, Park promised to compensate victims of past authoritarian rules and to promote balanced regional development and decentralization of power.
In order to achieve these tasks, around 210 new bills must be implemented, said Rep. Kang Seog-hoon of the Saenuri Party, a member of the state affairs planning and coordination subcommittee.
He explained that the new government plans to submit around 41 of the bills within the first half of this year and 58 of them in the latter half of the year with the goal to complete at least 150 bills within the first year in office.
Park assumes office on Feb. 25, but her new government is expected to suffer a setback due to delayed parliamentary negotiation over her government reorganization plans.
By Lee Joo-hee (email@example.com)