[EDITORIALS]West Coast Project Mired in PoliticsThe competition against China, the factory of the world, Japan, the global economic power, and Russia, with endless potential, is getting fiercer. To survive in this battle, we all understand that Korea must be developed as the logistical center of Northeast Asia. In particular, it is widely agreed that the development of the west coast of the Korean Peninsula, which is underdeveloped, is the most urgent issue.
However, analysts are critical of the current status of the west coast project. Regional development research institutes from Incheon, Gyeonggi province, Gwangju, the Jeolla provinces, and South Chungcheong province held a forum in Incheon lasr Wednesday. At the forum, the central government was criticized as doing nothing after it completed the construction of the Seohaean Expressway along the west coast. The regional autonomous bodies were told they had done nothing but proposed infeasible plans, failing to provide the necessary resources.
The government and the ruling Millennium Democratic Party held a meeting two days after the forum. They demonstrated that their plans to develop the west coast area are a mere gesture. After the meeting, the central government and the ruling party announced plans to establish a free-trade zone in the region. However, they have failed to present feasible plans, such as location and schedule.
The key to developing the west coast is making effective investments and developing regional specialties. We need a well thought-out development scheme that avoids overlapping investments and maximizes the functions of harbors, industrial complexes and satellite cities in the area connecting Incheon Airport to Asan Bay, Gunsan, Mokpo and Gwangyang Bay. Central and regional governments, political parties, companies and academic organizations should present a blueprint for Korea's future, not election propaganda.
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