I am pleased to meet government officials from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Since Minister Byeon Chang-heum assumed office, he and relevant officials have worked hard on the real estate policy measures announced February 4 and then preparations for this presidential briefing. Today, we are joined by those who will participate in a panel discussion: President Lee Jea-sun of the Urban Design Institute of Korea, Professor Chung Sung-bong of Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Executive Managing Director Kim Beom-jun of the Korea Integrated Logistics Association and Innovation and Strategy Officer Park Hyeon-gi of the Hamyang-gun Office. Attending from the ruling Democratic Party of Korea are Chairperson Lee Nak-yon, Floor Leader Kim Tae-nyeon and Policy Committee Chairperson Hong Ihk-pyo. Also present from the National Assembly is Chairperson Jin Sun-mee of the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Committee. Today’s briefing has brought together private-sector experts as well as officials from the ruling party, the Government and the Office of the President. I am grateful to all the participants for joining us.
MOLIT is responsible for a truly vast array of undertakings. The underpinnings that make our people’s lives comfortable and promote development and innovation are reliant on this Ministry. It strongly supports the people’s livelihoods and economic vitality through housing and transportation policies that essentially undergird stable, everyday routines; logistical and industrial infrastructures that buttress economic rejuvenation; balanced national development that benefits both the Seoul metropolitan area and local regions; future industries’ innovation; and public safety. By laying the cornerstone for the Korean New Deal and carbon neutrality, the Ministry is also supporting Korea emerging as a pacesetter.
In its briefing today, MOLIT has summed up well those key tasks that must be completed during the time left in my term. Discussions among experts and proposals from the ruling party will help enrich the content of our policies and also make them more feasible. What remains to be done now is ensuring that these plans materialize in ways that people can readily sense. I hope the Ministry will successfully implement the plans from this briefing with a strong sense of duty to not only revive the people’s livelihoods and the economy but also spearhead efforts to make a leap forward as a leading nation.
At this juncture, I cannot help but stress again that real estate policy is the most urgent task where MOLIT must succeed. I urge you to pool all your capabilities to stabilize prices for the purchase or lease of a home through the February 4 real estate measures, as if the Ministry’s fate depends on it. MOLIT’s tremendous work on housing supply and welfare has led to significant achievements. However, the people will find it difficult to give the Ministry credit for anything should its efforts fail to stabilize housing prices, deposits and rents. In addition to the current real estate policy, we are now in a situation where housing supply needs to be expanded dramatically. While unveiling his policy, Minister Byeon said that thinking outside the box to innovate housing supply methods could create sufficient public sector-led supply in city centers, including areas near subway stations. I urge the Ministry to ensure that his policy succeeds without fail so that people will no longer worry about the housing issue.
Balanced national development is a sustainable foundation for housing stability. It is also the way to revive local economies, and the first step for an inclusive recovery and a leap forward in the post-COVID-19 era. To date, the Government has built and nurtured regional growth hubs through innovative cities. We have intensively promoted economic growth and improved living conditions in local areas through projects – special urban convergence districts, major industrial complex renovations and urban regeneration. In addition to the work done so far, we will have to identify bolder and newer ways to generate growth. To this end, an institutional foundation to create pan-regional economic zones that can compete with the Seoul metropolitan area must be laid through solidarity and cooperation between municipal and provincial governments. Roads, railway networks and other pan-regional transportation infrastructure must be expanded.
We will have to expand customized support for different regions, including those districts scheduled to receive investments through the urban regeneration New Deal project, and lay the foundation for the mutually beneficial development of metropolitan Seoul and local areas. I ask you to maximize the synergy effect among neighborhood infrastructure; large-scale, pan-regional projects; and the policies for balanced national development.
Land and transportation hold unlimited possibilities for innovation and potential for the Korean New Deal and 2050 carbon neutrality. The KTX-Eum, which ushered in the era of low-carbon, eco-friendly high-speed trains, is a new example of innovation in rail transport. In particular, the future mobility industry will lead the Digital and Green new deals. I urge you to further accelerate the distribution and commercialization of electric vehicles, hydrogen-powered cars, self-driving automobiles and drone taxis.
I also ask you to implement the Korean New Deal in earnest, including the smart city pilot projects underway in Busan and Sejong while pursuing the regionally led special smart complexes. Appropriate preparations should be made for 2050 carbon neutrality projects, including hydrogen cities, construction of zero-energy structures and green remodeling.
Among MOLIT’s responsibilities, one area where public expectations have yet to be met is fatal industrial accidents at construction sites. Although this type of accident has become less frequent since my Administration was launched, the pace of decline has been slow and such retrograde accidents as falls continue to occur. I urge you to devise extraordinary measures to significantly reduce the number of construction site deaths.
The slogan for today’s briefing is “2021: the year housing concerns are alleviated, regional vitality is boosted and innovation multiplied.” It contains the people’s most desired policy goals. I ask you to do all you can to help people gain the sense that this briefing was not just a one-off event. My special request is for you to engage with the people at all times.