I am glad to see you. There are many familiar faces. I am always grateful to Floor Leader Kim Tae-nyeon, Senior Deputy Floor Leader Kim Young-jin and other members of the Democratic Party of Korea’s National Assembly floor leadership for their hard work within the party and at the Assembly to support policies to overcome the national crisis in this difficult time caused by COVID-19. We could have arranged this meeting much earlier had the situation been normal. I ask for your understanding that this gathering could only now be arranged because of the COVID-19 situation.
Thanks to the efforts of our party’s leadership in the Assembly, the 21st National Assembly has had immense accomplishments. More than anything else, its budgetary and legislative achievements have been unprecedented, providing a tremendous boost for surmounting the national crisis and improving people’s livelihoods. On the budgetary front, our delegation has successfully secured cooperation with opposition parties amid the crisis, paving the way for swift passage of four rounds of supplementary budget bills as well as the expanded budget proposal within the statutory deadline. Its endeavors have helped us fare well with both the economy and epidemic control and have also served as a very reliable foundation for reviving the people’s troubled livelihoods.
On the legislative front, our delegation has reaped considerable results quantitatively – including the number of bills deliberated and the percentage of those passed – and qualitatively. I believe our party has faithfully played its role as the ruling party responsible for the people’s day-to-day needs. Of note, the 21st National Assembly has passed not only legislation needed to overcome the immediate crisis and make a leap forward for the future but also historically significant acts. Among these are the reform bills for law enforcement agencies, which includes the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials; the three fair economy bills; the ratification of fundamental ILO conventions; a statute to punish businesses for severe accidents; and the revisions to the Local Autonomy Act and Special Act on Discovering the Truth of the Jeju April 3 Incident. These will go down in history as the defining legacy of the 21st Assembly.
Floor Leader Kim may be more burdened after assuming his concurrent role as acting party leader. Still, I’d like to ask you to speed up passage of the supplementary budget proposal to promptly provide people in need the fourth round of emergency relief payments, which were designed to address struggling livelihoods and the employment crisis tied to COVID-19. The Government has done its best to minimize blind spots based on its experiences to date. If there are any shortcomings, however, I urge you to make up for them during the deliberation process at the National Assembly so that payments for those in need can start in March.
Regarding legislation, I ask you to work on the passage of three laws to promote mutually beneficial solidarity to enact a loss compensation system, a profit-sharing system between large businesses and SMEs and the social solidarity fund. These and other livelihood-related laws aim to overcome the COVID-19 crisis in an inclusive manner. I would also like you to work hard to pass bills on economic vitality and regulatory innovation. In addition, I look forward to you striving to ensure that bills related to the Korean New Deal and 2050 carbon neutrality come to fruition as early as possible for our country’s future emergence as a pacesetter.
Now, public indignation is running very high over the issue of Korea Land and Housing Corporation employees having engaged in land speculation. The unwarranted use of related information by public officials or employees of public institutions in charge of land and housing development is an unpardonable act of corruption that undermines the fairness and trust of our society at their roots. The Government and law enforcement agencies will bring the full picture into view and strictly hold those involved accountable. Nevertheless, I also ask the National Assembly to pay special attention to devising a system to significantly raise transparency in real estate transactions, for instance, by fundamentally blocking such unlawful speculations by public servants and thoroughly preventing profiting off of speculation. Taking it a step further, I would like you to broaden consensus to the extent of creating a system to prevent conflicts of interest so that public servants will not do anything that might be considered suspicious.
I believe that it is necessary to approach this incident as a structural issue and try to solve the problem fundamentally. In the past, the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act served as an opportunity to break the culture of unlawful solicitation. In the same way, I believe that if we come up with clear institutional countermeasures to prevent a recurrence this time, we will be able to turn this into an opportunity to transcend outrage and move toward a more transparent and fair society. More urgent than anything else is stabilizing the real estate market as soon as possible along with guaranteeing the people’s right to decent housing by implementing the February 4 housing supply measure as planned without being shaken by this incident. I have a specific request: process the necessary follow-up legislation as soon as possible and strengthen cooperation between the ruling party and the Government, so the public will be able to trust the February 4 housing supply measure.
I look forward to constructive communication between the ruling Democratic Party and the Office of the President today.