First of all, my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the unexpected accident in Hungary. I offer my deepest condolences to their relatives. My heart aches when I think of how the families of those still unaccounted for must be suffering.
For its part, the Government is dealing with this lamentable situation to the best of its ability in cooperation with the Hungarian Government. However, we are feeling increasingly anxious as search and rescue operations are constrained by various adverse conditions. I hope the relatives will not lose their spirits. My heart goes out to a nation in mourning, and I hope everyone will come together in support of the missing passengers and their family members.
The Government will exert all-out efforts until completion by mobilizing all diplomatic channels available as well as all possible supplies and human resources. In addition, the Government will meticulously see to it that the cause of the accident can be ascertained in concert with the Hungarian Government. Ministries and agencies concerned should closely cooperate and do everything they can until the tasks at hand are completed.
Support for the victims’ relatives should be provided after carefully getting a sense of how they feel, keeping a mindset of caring for one’s own family. More than anything else, we should prevent any case where they remain anxious because they have been left in the dark about ongoing search and rescue efforts. All of them should be provided information as swiftly as possible, and the media should be kept informed of confirmed developments in real time so that there will be no confusion caused by inaccurate reports.
In particular, as the relatives’ stay at the site of the accident could be prolonged, I urge you to pay extraordinary attention to minimize their inconveniences. I also request your best efforts when taking necessary steps from assisting with transporting the victims’ bodies to Korea and their funerals to helping survivors and affected relatives with grief counseling and medical and legal aid.
I express my appreciation for the Hungarian Government’s active cooperation in dealing with the aftermath of the accident. In addition, my gratitude must go to the governments of Austria and the Czech Republic, which provided rescue and search equipment, as well as to the governments of Serbia, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria, the countries downstream on the Danube that are joining forces in the search. I also extend my gratitude to the Hungarian and dispatched Korean rescue workers, and once again, I request that they all pay keen attention during rescue and search operations to prevent safety-related accidents.
On this occasion, I urge you to carry out a comprehensive safety review of overseas trips. Since the inauguration of my Administration, consular assistance at our overseas diplomatic missions has been strengthened. However, I ask you to work out substantive measures to improve travelers’ safety with the understanding that, besides the provision of post-accident assistance, the enhancement of preliminary safety management is all the more crucial in a period when approximately 30 million Koreans travel abroad annually.
It is already June, but the National Assembly’s operation has yet to be normalized, which is causing concern among the people. The regular session to process legislative proposals was held for only three days this year, and not a single bill concerning the livelihood of ordinary people has passed the Assembly since April. It has already been 40 days since the Government’s supplementary budget proposal was submitted, and I believe that the National Assembly, too, may feel both frustrated and responsible.
In particular, external economic uncertainties, including trade disputes between the United States and China, are growing, and global economic conditions are quickly deteriorating. Investments and exports are experiencing difficulties, and the economic sentiment of businesses and households is being weakened. We also have to cope with internal conditions such as reduced working hours, the rapid rise of the elderly population and a decrease in the working-age population.
The Government is doing all it can to respond to the grave situation and help create economic vitality. Those from the ruling and opposition parties have voiced various concerns about the economy. In times like these, lawmakers should promptly hold a session at the Assembly and conduct active discussions on countermeasures. Most of all, I urge lawmakers to quickly review the supplementary budget bill.
For the normalization of the National Assembly and prompt passage of the supplementary budget bill, I’ve already proposed many times to convene a meeting of the standing state affairs consultative body, comprising representatives from the ruling and opposition parties and the Government, as well as to hold a meeting with the heads of the ruling and opposition parties. In a few days, my visit to the three Scandinavian countries is scheduled to begin. I hope that at least the politics of dialogue and cooperation will be restored before my departure, and the National Assembly will be normalized. I ask for cooperation from politicians once more.