South Korea's Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on Tuesday called for all-out efforts to manage economic risks stemming from the US Federal Reserve's recent decision to raise key interest rates.
During a Cabinet meeting, Hwang pointed out growing concerns that the interest rate hike could further weigh down Asia's fourth-largest economy suffering from flaccid domestic consumption and relatively high unemployment.
Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the central government complex in Seoul on March 21, 2017. (Yonhap)
Last week, the Fed raised the target range for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to 0.75 to 1 percent, signaling that additional hikes would be made in a gradual manner later this year.
"To ensure that growing concerns (about the impact of the rate hike) will not become a reality, it is important for us to preemptively manage economic risk factors and continue the trends of our economic recovery," Hwang said.
"I call on related ministries to do your best to minimize the impact of the US interest rate hike on our economy," he added.
The acting president, in addition, stressed the need to strengthen government support for local firms seeking to advance into foreign markets, noting that economic uncertainties associated with the interest rate increase could affect their exports.
Touching on "West Sea Defense Day," which falls on Friday, Hwang warned against additional provocations from North Korea and urged the military to maintain a "watertight" readiness posture.
South Korea has observed the special day since last year to remember a series of North Korean provocations in the West Sea, including a 2010 torpedo attack on the corvette Cheonan that killed 46 South Korean sailors.
"The possibility has been raised that the North could stage additional provocations on the pretext of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises," Hwang said, referring to the ongoing annual military drills conducted by Seoul and Washington.
"Pyongyang's reckless provocations could occur regardless of the time and place," he added. (Yonhap)