[EDITORIALS]Better ideas for the capitalThe government plan to move the capital is going to be subject to the decision of the Constitutional Court. A lawyer started collecting signatures of applicants who wanted to join in the move to appeal to the Constitutional Court to review the constitutionality of the bill on the move. Depending on the court’s decision, the plan could be cancelled and the budget and administrative efforts poured into it could be foiled.
The reason for such a fiasco is in the arrogance and self-complacency of the government. Moving the capital is an affair on which the fate of the nation in the coming 100 years depends. It is wrong to promote it without giving time to experts and people to express their opinions.
First of all, most people do not understand why the new capital should be in the Chungcheong provinces. Depending on the way and the timing of the unification, conditions for being a new capital will change. We don’t understand why the capital should be moved in a hurry to south of Seoul. Even the prime minister said in February: “Seoul is the most suitable to be the capital of a unified Korea.” When an administrative capital is created in the Chungcheong area, it will result in expanding the Seoul metropolitan area to the Chungcheong region. And it is contrary to the cause of promoting balanced regional development.
It will be expensive. During the presidential campaign, then-presidential candidate Roh Moo-hyun’s party claimed that the move would cost only 4 trillion to 6 trillion won ($3.4 billion to $5.1 billion). But in less than two years time, the government talks about 45 trillion won, 10 times more, and experts say it will cost more than 100 trillion won. Also confusing is that the move of the administrative capital has changed to a full-scale move including the legislature and important offices of the judiciary.
Those who promote the move claim that the passage of a bill at the Assembly satisfies the requirement of collecting people’s opinion on the plan. However, it is a well-known fact that the ruling party used the move to gain votes of Chungcheong people. The Grand Nationals agreed to the bill’s passage for the same reason. The government must leave all possibilities open and collect people’s opinions humbly. A national referendum could be a solution.