I am glad to see you all. Today, we have brought together the top leaders of our ruling party for a meeting that was postponed due to the COVID-19 situation. It cannot be delayed any longer as Chairperson Lee Nak-yon is scheduled to step down soon. I am very grateful to the Chairperson for having played a pivotal role and for his remarkable leadership within the party. I believe that if our party comes together around the Chairperson and leadership – just as it does now – and if the ruling party, the Government and the Office of the President work with one mind through lively discussions, we can continue to exude this exemplary stability. Even though our people are going through a really difficult time, they feel reassured by the ruling party’s ability to respond to the crisis in a stable manner and extend us their trust.
This is no time to be complacent about the COVID-19 situation. As the daily number of confirmed cases has recently increased, the Government will stay alert at every moment and bring epidemic prevention and control under stable management. We will prepare thoroughly for the vaccination that will commence next week. Sufficient amounts of vaccines have been secured and preparations have been put in place so that they can be supplied and administered seamlessly. For this reason, it is expected that rapid and systematic inoculation will help achieve herd immunity within the planned period of time without any setbacks. I hope the ruling party will also pool its strength to enable our people to return to their normal daily routines as soon as possible.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the ruling party has been at the forefront of safeguarding the lives of those facing hardships. It has played a leading role in formulating bolder support measures and implementing aggressive fiscal policy through consultations with the Government and the Office of the President. The Household Income and Expenditure Survey indices released yesterday have confirmed all relevant efforts made to date. Despite the decline of earned income and business profits due to the economic downturn, proactive and swift fiscal policy has been found to have significantly helped increase transfer payments, raising household incomes among all quintiles. On top of this, fiscal spending has improved income distribution by as much as 40 percent, which has played a crucial role in minimizing the deepening of income inequality at a time of crisis. I look forward to working together to achieve an inclusive recovery going forward.
The ruling party is also taking the initiative in pushing ahead with our country’s great transformation through the Korean New Deal. The party has played a significant role in establishing the Korean New Deal as a national development strategy by actively identifying signature projects through creative ideas. Also at the National Assembly, it has produced outstanding achievements in terms of both the number and content of the laws passed. I believe we – this ruling party, this Government and this Office of the President – can take pride in having achieved more than any previous administration has.
It is also very significant that Chairperson Lee recently presented the vision of a “new welfare system” and is leading the efforts to enact three laws to promote mutually beneficial solidarity. This shows determination to practice the spirit of our times – to achieve a recovery and leap forward based on the value of inclusiveness. I believe that giving shape to our determination going forward is the way to develop society in a more inclusive manner.
Distribution of the fourth round of emergency relief payments, now under discussion, should be as broad and large as possible since the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic has caused extensive and profound damage. It may not be possible for the Government and the ruling party to share the same ideas from the beginning, but we will also actively work to provide damage relief measures that can minimize blind spots. At the same time, I also ask the ruling party to take fiscal conditions into account. Moreover, the ruling party is actively promoting the Regionally Balanced New Deal, and this will be of great help in pushing balanced national development and boosting vitality in local areas. The Government will strongly push ahead with the Regionally Balanced New Deal by placing it at the center of the Korean New Deal.
Today, boxed lunches have been prepared, so we can focus on our discussion. I ask you to pool your wisdom to surmount this national crisis.