[EDITORIALS]Hubbub over a hubThe national blueprint to build a hub city in western Korea that will be the central machine for the Northeast Asian economy is on a collision course because of a difference in opinion among the old and the new policymakers. Yesterday, the plan screeched to a halt when officials from concerned ministries and business advocacy groups aborted a joint discussion in which further details were to be added.
Building a special economic zone, which targets Yeongjong islet, Song islet and the former Gimpo landfill, and turning those spots into financial hubs, came into being at the end of last year after a tumultuous birth. The presidential transition team, in particular, pinpoints Song islet and wants to groom it as an information and technology center. The place has been labeled as a candidate hub for financial services in general. The transition team explains that not many foreign companies are expected to move in and the city lacks a cutting-edge competitiveness in providing expedient services.
It is not easy to determine just what a hub economic zone should focus on in order to beat the heightening economic competition in the 21st century. The idea came from a desire to find a new economic growth model for the South Korean economy, which is being squeezed by China and Japan.
By espousing a new industry focus for Song islet, the transition team seems to be banking on the nation's conglomerates to move in. But we cannot but wonder whether the Korean business groups will ditch their existing research institutes to move to Song islet, and how the government is going to address the discrimination in benefits among domestic conglomerates who move in and those who don't.
Building an economic hub to serve the Northeast Asian economy tops the new administration's agenda, so it is not a matter for foot-dragging or extended rancor. One bit of heartening news is that there will be a new task force that will have to cough up a shining master plan.