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Moon calls for extraordinary economic measures

President Moon Jae-in speaks at Tuesday`s Cabinet meeting. (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in speaks at Tuesday`s Cabinet meeting. (Yonhap)

President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday called for an “extraordinary economic response” to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, Moon said the resurgence of COVID-19 has placed the country’s economy and its efforts to contain the virus in jeopardy.

“If phase two social distancing is prolonged, economic difficulties will grow. An extraordinary economic response is required,” Moon said.

In an apparent reference to the controversy over the government campaign to boost spending, Moon went on to stress that economic measures must move in step with quarantine measures.

“Bear in mind that the economic response must be in harmony with quarantine. Succeeding in quarantine is the way to revive the economy,” Moon said.

The government had drawn heavy fire over campaigns to boost spending -- for example, by providing subsidies for services such as accommodations -- which overlapped with the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases in Seoul and surrounding regions.

Stressing that economic issues must not be overlooked, Moon went on to call on government officials to draw up plans for different COVID-19 scenarios and hinted at the possibility of new measures.

“Assess the impact social distancing is having on the economy and people’s livelihoods, and revise or add emergency economic measures if necessary,” Moon said.

The president also hinted at the possibility of another supplementary budget, calling on officials to review the situation for any shortfall in the measures rolled out as a result of the three previous supplementary budgets.

Moon also stressed that the Korean New Deal must be executed as planned, saying that investment in the future must not be stopped. The Korean New Deal is a massive government-led project that will see over 160 trillion won ($134.8 billion) injected into selected fields with the aim of creating nearly 2 million jobs by 2025.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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