Today, two outside experts – Vice President Kang Yong-seong of the Korea Software Industry Association and President Moon Yong-sik of the National Information Society Agency – are joining us to discuss items on the agenda. Please welcome them with a round of applause. Newly appointed Senior Secretaries to the President for Political Affairs Lee Cheol-hee and for Social Policy Lee Tae-han are attending today’s meeting for the first time. Presidential Spokesperson Park Kyung-mee is also attending for the first time in her new capacity.
We renew our commitment to staunchly fulfilling the duties that the people and history have entrusted to us until the last day of this Administration. We will regard the people’s rebuke as bitter medicine and reflect on state affairs in general, seizing this as an opportunity to make a new beginning. What has been achieved to date will be further advanced and what has been insufficient will be made whole and corrected.
My Administration was launched without a presidential transition committee amid a grave national situation. We have been charging forward with no time to rest for even a moment. At a time when inequality was intensifying and low growth taking firm root, the Government made all-out efforts to turn Korea into an innovative, inclusive nation where all people prosper together amid dynamic economic growth. Our work to greatly transform economic and social structures has evolved into the Korean New Deal, which is strongly driving the establishment of employment and social safety nets and implementation of the Digital New Deal and Green New Deal. All the while, we are spurring the transition to a pace-setting economy.
Even though we faced a touch-and-go crisis that could have escalated into war in the early days of my Administration, we have never abandoned our faith in peace even for an instant. Painstaking efforts were made, as if cautiously walking on thin ice, to resolve problems through dialogue. As a result, the specter of war was removed and fruit borne: the three rounds of inter-Korean summits and historic North Korea-U.S. summits. Talks are currently at an impasse, but we consider this a time for contemplation to move forward and are making diplomatic efforts to restore dialogue. We must settle the present tentative peace into a permanent peace.
Above all, amid the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has been working the hardest on overcoming the crisis along with the people. Our people’s mature civic awareness and potential that becomes even stronger in the face of a crisis, our advanced epidemic prevention and control system and aggressive fiscal policy have all combined to help Korea become globally recognized as an exemplary country with regard to epidemic prevention and one of the leading countries tackling the economic crisis. Thanks to this, the nation’s status has risen, making it possible for our country to receive back-to-back invitations to G7 Summits. In addition, we have surpassed a G7 member state for the first time in terms of GDP per capita.
What the people and country have achieved is a feat that our people deserve to take pride in. Nevertheless, the situation facing us remains grave still. We cannot yet let our guard down when it comes to epidemic prevention, and there are many difficulties with achieving herd immunity. The economy has definitely entered a recovery period with better employment conditions, but more efforts are still required to ensure that the people sense its warmth. Housing stability, the overriding issue for people’s livelihoods, also remains a difficult task.
People are evaluating us not on our past achievements but on the present problems and future tasks. The Government must identify and squarely face those problems and tasks in a level-headed manner and attend to state affairs with a sense of heavy responsibility and extraordinary determination. We must thoroughly establish discipline within the civil service and attentively listen to what the people have to say with more humility. Until the last day in office, we have to remain competent and free from corruption. I urge each ministry and agency to examine policies more meticulously from the people’s perspective and do everything possible to meet their desperate demands.
The Government should make people’s livelihoods the top priority and implement policies in a consistent manner, while strengthening policy cooperation with the ruling party. I also ask you to make efforts to communicate and cooperate with opposition parties. I would like you to relieve the difficulties in people’s lives and produce legislative results, beginning with enacting laws that are indispensable for the future of the country.
I ask you to establish a special cooperative system with the local governments whose leadership changed after elections. In particular, epidemic prevention and control and real estate are the most sensitive issues in people’s lives. I urge the central and local governments to fully communicate and cooperate closely so no loopholes weaken the management of this precarious epidemic and the real estate market does not become unstable again.
Communication with and support for businesses should be expanded further. With countries competing fiercely to dominate global markets ahead of others as the economy recovers, cooperation between the Government and businesses as well as among businesses is more pressing than ever. The Government should closely communicate with businesses and more vigorously push the national strategy to strongly support future industries. If businesses, for their part, actively embark on expanding investment and creating jobs, the Government will provide all the support possible.
The Government will further strengthen solidarity and cooperation with the international community. The Leaders Summit on Climate will be held in just a few days, and Korea will host the P4G Summit at the end of May. We will further increase our responsibilities and roles in responding to climate change as a member of the international community. In May, a Republic of Korea-United States summit is also scheduled. In addition to the effort to resume the stopped clock of peace once again on the Korean Peninsula, I will devote myself to closely working with the United States on pending issues between our two countries, including economic cooperation, the response to COVID-19 and collaboration on vaccines.