중앙데일리

Howls of Protest over Government Fiscal Policy

Mar 19,2000
There is a storm brewing between the ruling Millenium Democratic Party(MDP) and the opposition parties over the government's new drive over 'economic policy'.
The situation arose from the controversy surrounding Kookmin Bank which saw Kim Sang-Hoon, the former vice-president of the Financial Supervisory Service (government bank watchdog) become bank chairman. Also, with banking in the limelight, this brought on further heated debates on rises in bank interest rates being overtly controlled by the government. Also, three banks including the Korea Exchange Bank changed their own regulations shortening the terms bank directors could hold from three-year to one-year terms.
The opposing Grand National Party (GNP) is charging that the new government financial policy and the closer ties between politics and business have been intensifying since the ruling MDP came into power. The MDP, in reply to this, dares the GNP to take on its 'IMF responsibility', a reference to the financial debacle aggrevated by the previous GNP government of Kim Young-sam.
Lee Han-kyu of the GNP said that both foreign market investors and labor unions are resisting the election of Kim Sang-hoon to the Kookmin chair condemning it as part of the government's new driving financial policy.
Lee continued the charges saying that the government is now heavily involved in the management of ten commmercial banks including Chohung and Hanvit Banks in which the government owns large blocks of stock (a means of directly effecting monetary policy).
Cho Boo-young of the United Liberal Democrat party(ULD) also pointed out that the election process for Kookmin Bank's top position is said to be evidence of the government carrying out its financial policies, its so-called 'Government for the People'.
But, in its defense, Kim Won-kil of the MDP refuted that the GNP has no right to criticize their actions what with the GNP's own mis-handling of the financial meltdown of the 1990s and the GNP's own close ties to business.
He also added that the government had no involvement in the Kookmin Bank appointment and rather put all its efforts into financial reforms instead.
Cho Soon, a representative for the Democratic People's Party (DPP) added his own take on the situation saying that the government's financial policy and the Korean economy in general have been intensifying since the whole financial crisis began. He continued that Korea could face another crisis due to resturcturing and not financial problems, within 3 or 4 years if the government continues on with its focus on finance itself and not on the stability of its structures.




by Lee Yang-Soo




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