[EDITORIALS]A hurried capital moveThe government has announced four candidate sites for the new capital. It can decide on one place only if it takes the time and evaluates the merits of the sites carefully. Since the government announced all four sites, the three that will be dropped in the selection process will experience enormous inconvenience until the choice is finalized.
In the government’s hurried announcement of the candidate sites, we can see the hidden intention to make the capital move an established fact. President Roh Moo-hyun emphasized that as the capital move is “one of the hard core tasks of the participatory government, it must be accomplished even by staking the fate of the government.”
One can feel the obstinacy to ignore the opposition. But moving the capital involves complex problems, starting from the nation’s historical background, politics, diplomacy and national defense to the daily lives of the people. It is an important national task that goes far beyond an administration’s core tasks. It needs to collect much more wide-ranging public opinions and make multifaceted studies.
We have to first reconsider the fundamental question that provides the raison d’etre of the move: To what extent will the move contribute to the balanced development of the nation? The candidate sites are all in the Chungcheong provinces and are located between Seoul and Daejeon. The move can create a mammoth metropolitan city that encompasses Seoul, the administrative capital and Daejeon. This goes against balanced development.
Another question is whether it is desirable to move the capital to an inland area in this globalization era. Following the analysis that the national territory must be developed along the coastline, the government promoted a U-shaped land development plan in the past. Moving the capital to an inland area is changing the backbone of the plan.
What is important is collecting people’s opinion in full. The government’s claim that it was the president’s election pledge and that approval by the National Assembly is sufficient evidence of public opinion is not logical. A capital move decided through a national referendum will become a sustainable national project that will last even if the administration is changed.