중앙데일리

President to tell nation of his vision of advancement

Prime minister mentions Yongsan settlement as key step  PLAY AUDIO

Jan 04,2010
President Lee Myung-bak is poised to offer his national governance goals focused on “solidifying the foundation of a leading country through reform” in his New Year’s address scheduled at 10 a.m. today, according to the Blue House yesterday.

“President Lee will set 2010 as the year of laying the groundwork for Korea to become an advanced country and bear the fruits of the reforms for national advancement in various sectors,” said the presidential office in a press release. The president will also express his intention to fortify global diplomacy and maintain citizen-friendly, moderate pragmatic policy goals under the catchphrase of “a bigger Republic of Korea.”

He may organize a meeting with the heads of the ruling and main opposition political parties - Grand National and Democratic - early this year to discuss key policy issues, although Lee won’t mention it in the address, according to key Blue House sources. The trilateral meeting was initially brought up by GNP leader Chung Mong-joon late last year but was nullified after DP chief Chung Sye-kyun claimed it should prioritize discussion on the budget of the controversial four river restoration project. Still, the date and the format of the three-party meeting haven’t been confirmed, said Blue House spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye.

Another Blue House official said Lee Hoi-chang, leader of the second-tier opposition Liberal Forward Party, could also be invited.

President Lee enters his third year of his five-year term this year. On New Year’s Day, Lee told his confidants that he thinks he will be at the midpoint of his term this year, not in the latter half. Thus there will be “no chance of a lame-duck status emerging,” he said.

Separately, Prime Minister Chung Un-chan said in an exclusive interview with the JoongAng Ilbo on Sunday that the modified blueprint for the Sejong City development project, set for announcement on Jan. 11, will be “highly detailed.”

“The announcement will list the names of enterprises, universities and think tanks to be newly relocated [to Sejong],” he said. He again noted that there will be “no plans for partial relocation of government bodies.”

When asked about Lee’s best achievements while in office during the past three months, Chung singled out the settlement of the Yongsan fire dispute.

“I wouldn’t say I [resolved it] well but I am pleased to see the dispute concluded,” he said, noting that religious leaders he met and Lee contributed the most to compromise. “President Lee told me he wanted the issue resolved as soon as possible from a humanistic perspective, and if the settlement were delayed beyond the year’s end, it could become a political burden.”

The former Seoul National University president and long-time economics professor described himself as a person who has made a comeback after a long seclusion early in life.

“I sort of took pride in being a good communicator at school. But now that I am here at the Prime Minister’s Office, where I have to oversee government affairs, I realize communication and conversation are hard because I am meeting so many people,” he said.


By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]




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