By Park Hye Ri and Lee Jihae
President Moon Jae-in on Aug. 5 said the Korean economy can catch up with Japan's quickly if a peace economy is achieved on the Korean Peninsula through inter-Korean economic cooperation.
In a speech to a meeting of his senior secretaries at Cheong Wa Dae, he stressed the importance of such cooperation to solve the trade crisis caused by Japan's export curbs on Korea and the ensuing deterioration of bilateral relations.
Japan has a larger economy and a domestic market than Korea, and for the Korean economy to surpass Japan's, the president stressed the need for stronger insight and determination. He also said Tokyo's recent trade sanctions "will serve as a catalyst to strengthen our intent to become an economic powerhouse."
Seoul will implement policies to boost the country's competitiveness in material component production, he said. The government will also carry out extensive economic plans to revitalize the overall economy, he added, and this will be reflected in the government budget for the following year.
President Moon said Korea is expanding its economic sphere through trade diversification based on his administration's New Southern Policy and New Northern Policy. Stepping up innovative growth and expanding the country's economic sphere can be solutions, he added.
"Undergoing the recent string of events has made us fully feel the need for the peace economy," he said.
He said the peace economy achieved through inter-Korean economic cooperation could be a fundamental solution to the trade dispute between Korea and Japan.
President Moon said the Japanese government through its sanctions is hurting both the Korean and Japanese people, who have overcome the pangs of the past to build mutual trust and cooperation. Japan also cannot be considered a world leader based on its economy alone, he added.
The chief executive pledged that Korea will uphold democratic human rights and consistently pursue free and fair trade, peace and cooperation. "As a responsible member of the international community, Korea will abide by the principles of universal human rights and international law," he said.