100,000 won bill can wait
Government indefinitely delays next year’s planned release
The Korean government has indefinitely delayed the introduction of a 100,000 won ($75) banknote, which some say means it could scrap the plan altogether.
The Finance Ministry is mulling reversing related laws and will soon make its decision public, according to ministry sources yesterday. The ministry can permit the Bank of Korea to issue new bank notes. The BOK said it has not been given any notice regarding the matter.
The government decided in May 2007 to issue 50,000 won and 100,000 won bills, adding to the existing lineup of 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 won. The 50,000 won bill will be released early next year, as planned.
Finance Minister Kang Man-soo told lawmakers at the National Assembly inspection of government offices in October that the 100,000 won bill is not pending and the 50,000 won bill will meet the needs of the market. “There are a range of other complicated issues that I cannot disclose in public,” he added, raising questions about the inside story.
At the time, Finance Ministry officials cited the bill’s design as a key issue behind the postponement. On the bill’s front, Kim Gu, a Korean independence fighter under Japan’s colonial rule in the early 1900s, was to be featured. The back was supposed to depict the “Daedongyeojido” - a wood-engraved map of the Korean Peninsula created by Kim Jeong-ho, a geographer and cartographer during the Joseon Dynasty. But controversy emerged after it was revealed that Kim’s engraving did not include Dokdo, a controversial group of Korean islets in the East Sea, which Japan claims as its own territory. Public sentiment would have the BOK add Dokdo, but doing so would compromise the integrity of the original work.
The central bank is in no hurry to have 100,000 won bills. “Redenomination is not something to be discussed amid ongoing financial turmoil,” a BOK spokesman said.
By Seo Ji-eun Staff Reporter [email@example.com]