By Kim Minji
President Moon Jae-in on May 10 delivered a special address to mark his fourth year in office at the media center Chunchugwan Press Center of Cheong Wa Dae, announcing his governing plans for his final year in office.
"An end to the war against COVID-19 is in sight. We are picking up speed with vaccination, nearing herd immunity," he said.
Saying the pace of vaccination will pick up, President Moon said, "Our goal has been revised upward to vaccinate more than 13 million people by the end of June. The administering of the first dose to everyone in the population who is eligible will be completed by the end of September, ensuring that herd immunity is achieved before our original target of sometime in November."
"We will provide all available support to develop homegrown vaccines to secure vaccine sovereignty, bracing for a protracted COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, full support will be rendered so that Korea will become a global hub for vaccine production on the foundation of the world's second-largest biopharmaceutical manufacturing capacity."
Turning to the economy, the chief executive said, "Today, in this same place after one year, it is very fortunate for me to be able to report to the people that our economy has already recovered to the pre-COVID-19 level during the first quarter of this year – faster than that of any other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) member."
"This national accomplishment and people's pride have been made possible thanks to our households, businesses and the Government working together in perfect harmony."
"International organizations have recently raised our growth prospects with some forecasting a growth of more than 4 percent this year," he added. "All government capabilities will be mobilized and private-sector vitality will be enhanced so that our economy will grow at more than 4 percent for the first time in 11 years."
On inter-Korean relations, he said, "I will consider the remaining one year of my term to be the last opportunity to move from an incomplete peace toward one that is irreversible."
Mentioning his upcoming bilateral summit with the U.S. on May 21 in Washington, the president said, "We will restore dialogue between the two Koreas and between the United States and North Korea and find a way to step once again toward peaceful cooperation by more closely coordinating policies toward North Korea."
"I look forward to North Korea responding positively," he said, adding that he hopes to build peace and move toward prosperity together.
On his final year in office, the president said, "The one year remaining in my term might become short if it is deemed short or long if deemed long. I will work with such commitment that this single year can determine the Republic of Korea's destiny."
His 28-minute speech began at 11 a.m., followed by a 40-minute Q&A session with reporters.
This was also the president's first media event since his New Year's news conference on Jan. 18.