Today, on the first anniversary of the announcement of the Korean New Deal, I would like to present to the people what has been achieved so far and the plans to implement the “Korean New Deal 2.0,” a more evolved version. Threats from COVID-19 still persist and we face a grave situation with Level 4 social distancing rules in place in the Seoul metropolitan area, but the Korean New Deal must continue to move forward. We started this project in the throes of a crisis. Designed not only to help overcome impending crises but also to serve as a national development strategy for Korea to take off as a pacesetter, the initiative has continued to evolve and generate hope.
At first, it began as a strategy to create a large number of jobs to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, focusing on the Digital New Deal. The Korean New Deal started to evolve in earnest with the Green New Deal established as one more support column – with the aim of accelerating climate change responses and the transition to a low-carbon economy.
It only began to take full shape after the expansion of employment and social safety nets was also declared part of the Korean New Deal’s foundation. Taking it a step further, the Regionally Balanced New Deal embodied the Korean New Deal’s spirit, securing a platform to spread related initiatives to localities.
With investment plans worth 160 trillion won put forward, the Korean New Deal became a bold and grand national development strategy to turn crises into opportunities. The international community is also praising the Korean New Deal as a leading national development strategy for surmounting the COVID-19 crisis and responding to the climate crisis. Now, our chosen path has become one the whole world is taking. The recent G7 Summit served as a venue to reaffirm the fact that the national development strategy we laid out a year ago has become the direction in which the world is moving.
Today – confident that our choice was indeed right – I can now announce the Korean New Deal 2.0, a further upgraded version. This enhanced strategy aims to take the Korean New Deal to a new level based on what has already been achieved.
The Korean New Deal has flung the door wide open for the Republic of Korea’s great transformation, invited in the winds of digital and green innovation and amassed the strength needed for inclusiveness. Building on this, we have been able to recover promptly from COVID-19-triggered economic shocks and move toward our goal of becoming a pacesetting nation.
Proactive fiscal investments have served as a pump primer, becoming a driving force for change. Big data platforms and data for artificial intelligence learning have been constructed and made public. Smart devices and equipment have been supplied to primary, middle and high schools across the country as part of our efforts to build the infrastructure for future education. At the same time, the digitalization of industries, transport, logistics and other infrastructure is picking up speed as well.
We have increased the supply of electric vehicles and hydrogen cars and supported the development and distribution of renewable energy technology, laying the groundwork for the transition to a low-carbon economy. Living spaces and workplaces – schools, towns, buildings and industrial complexes – are being turned into green spaces.
We are also strengthening the employment and social safety nets. As part of the effort to accelerate the arrival of an era of universal employment insurance, we have continuously increased the number of eligible subscribers. The employment support program has been implemented, and a growing number of software engineers and other professionals have been fostered – easing the employment shock.
Institutional foundations are also being laid to push the Korean New Deal in a stable manner. We have enacted the world’s first Hydrogen Act and are working on the Framework Act on Data and establishing an income identification system to further strengthen the employment safety net.
The private sector’s participation is also gaining momentum. Investments in the projects linked to “data, networks and AI” are expanding, and investment plans on large-scale new and renewable energy projects to build the world's largest fixed offshore wind farm as well as floating wind farms have been announced. Some leading businesses are taking the initiative by fostering digital-field professionals, and the private sector’s investments in people in ways that narrow the digital divide are growing.
Thanks to these changes and achievements, people have begun to sense the Korean New Deal in their everyday lives. It is becoming commonplace for us to interact with Dr. Answer, the AI-powered diagnostic software; AI virtual assistant services for the public; and delivery robots. “Green” has become common parlance in all areas of our life, including housing, transportation and the economy, improving the quality of life. Interest and participation in the Korean New Deal are also growing. Private sector-led New Deal funds are being launched continuously, and the “participatory” New Deal fund sold out early on. These achievements are all the more invaluable as they have been made in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. The Korean New Deal 2.0 will help people more swiftly sense relevant changes and achievements in their day-to-day living.
Countries around the world are taking steps to gain a competitive advantage in the digital sector and are vigorously pushing ahead with strategies to nurture the low-carbon economy into a future growth engine. An active response to these changing global trends, the Korean New Deal 2.0 constitutes a blueprint to further accelerate our digital and green transitions. This plan is also about paying more attention to narrowing disparities, expanding safety nets and investing in people. In addition, it is about increasing support for an inclusive transformation, which includes efforts to accommodate labor mobility caused by rapid changes in the industrial structure. First, in addition to the Korean New Deal’s Digital and Green New Deals, we will erect yet another support column: the “Human New Deal.”
The Human New Deal is about further expanding and developing the employment and social safety nets. Accordingly, the Korean New Deal has set up the three pillars – Digital, Green and Human – and evolved a notch higher into a comprehensive national project that practices the spirit of regional balance.
Through the Human New Deal, we will further strengthen the employment and social safety nets, for instance, by establishing a universal employment safety net and completely abolishing the mandatory family support obligations. At the same time, investments in people will be greatly expanded as a response to our low-carbon and digital transitions.
Focus will be placed on support for young adults, the key drivers of social change, and on reducing the ever-widening divide in education and caregiving. Maximum support will be provided so that companies and universities can play a central role in effectively nurturing professionals for such new and growing industries as system semiconductors, biohealth and future cars on top of 90,000 software specialists.
Customized assistance for building wealth will be given to young people, who are the Republic of Korea’s future. All the support possible will be provided through policies to stabilize housing and ease the burden of education expenses. Through quality vocational training programs and support for startups, we will actively help create jobs for young people and assist them to become leaders in innovation. We will introduce four programs to improve education in a bid to narrow the educational divide and significantly expand the foundation for quality caregiving services, thereby strengthening the relevant safety net for the vulnerable.
Second, the digital and green transitions will be accelerated further. By integrating 5G and artificial intelligence into people’s daily lives and all industries, we will maintain our huge digital lead. We will spearhead the era of hyper-connectivity and super-intelligence by supporting new ICT convergence industries such as metaverse, cloud computing, block chain and IoT.
In a bid to achieve carbon neutrality and greenhouse gas reduction targets as plan
red, we will establish a foundation within the Green New Deal to pursue carbon neutrality. Our system for measuring and evaluating greenhouse gasses will be upgraded, and changes in the international order – such as the introduction of a carbon border tax – will be met with vibrant responses. While expanding green infrastructure and accelerating green transportation business lines, like electric cars and hydrogen vehicles, we will expedite the transition to a low-carbon economy by developing carbon-reduction technology and pursuing green finance.
Third, we will achieve a just transition. We will actively help companies restructure their business lines for the transition to the digital, low-carbon economy. By providing workers training for career changes and reemployment support, we will help them change jobs with ease.
Finally, as the Korean New Deal evolves, relevant investment will be greatly expanded. By 2025, the total investment in the Korean New Deal will be increased from the existing 160 trillion won to 220 trillion won. Local areas’ active participation is a robust driving force for the Korean New Deal. By supporting outstanding regional new deal projects, we will quickly spread the accomplishments to every corner of the Republic of Korea. The achievements of the Korean New Deal will be shared with the public through the creation of an additional 100-billion-won participatory New Deal fund.
We have successfully turned the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity and demonstrated our capabilities to the fullest. The Korean New Deal will be our strongest policy tool. It constitutes hope for surmounting COVID-19 and a future strategy for the Republic of Korea that extends beyond my Administration. The Korean New Deal will continue to advance and evolve. We will not be content with the Korean New Deal 2.0 but move ever closer to becoming a pacesetting nation. The masters of the Korean New Deal are the people. They will also lead its evolution. I ask the public to participate with profound interest and passion. We will vigorously move forward together with the people toward an inclusive and sustainable future as a pacesetting nation.