[EDITORIALS]A blow to Korean businessPresident Roh Moo-hyun’s call for a confidence vote, the resignations of all the ministers and his refusal to accept them have hit Korean business hard. The people who were barely keeping the economy alive have been thrown into deep concern. The business community that usually tries to avoid political comments has demanded the withdrawal of the call for a confidence vote. This comes from the fear that business will be cut to pieces by the president’s “dangerous gamble.”
Economic players hate uncertainty. By calling for a confidence vote, the president has aggravated the already uncertain economy. The diffusion of political uncertainty has choked off investment and consumption. The business sector has had to pay a heavy price for the uncertainty of government policies since the present administration began. Now the president has added fuel to the fire, making economic recovery nearly impossible. The call for a confidence vote is sure to affect Korea’s sovereign credit rating. International credit rating agencies consider domestic stability an important criterion, and therefore the president’s action could damage our credit. The financial market is sensitive to domestic instability, and should anxiety about Korea rise, foreign investors will pull out.
The economy ministers talk about stable policy, but potential unrest in the public sector is also a major cause of concern. Should the bureaucracy be unwilling to do what it must, major issues such as the suppression of real-estate speculation, the free trade agreement with Chile, the construction of nuclear waste facilities in Wido and the opening of the agriculture market would all be set adrift.
The economic ministers should show more determination to minimize the absence of leadership before talking about resigning. Also, the political parties should cooperate at least on the issue of public welfare and let the economy move according to market principles independent of politics. Now that the confidence vote has been called for, the process should be as quick and painless as possible. Confusion is already unavoidable, but the economy could at least be salvaged if the controversy is resolved quickly.