[EDITORIALS]Moving in the wrong direction

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[EDITORIALS]Moving in the wrong direction

Relocating a nation’s capital decides the fate of that country. Once it is carried out, it cannot be undone. That is why we have been claiming that the matter must be fully discussed by the public and agreed on by the people prior to the move.
The recent state of affairs, however, is moving in the wrong direction. President Roh Moo-hyun is attacking the media, saying that those who oppose moving the capital are trying to relieve the president of his position. We must seriously examine the situation and see if relocating the capital is truly the only method to solve overcrowding in the metropolitan area and to strengthen national competitiveness. This must be done to prevent any further catastrophes.
If our goal is to disperse 500,000 people as the government first proposed, it would be wise to cool-headedly calculate what plan would be the most cost-effective and efficient. We must compare various plans: moving schools and colleges first, inducing headquarters of large companies to relocate to regional areas, or promoting the construction of company cities.
Aside from these scenarios, people are continuously raising new ideas, such as a multicapital system. It is therefore not right to block these ongoing discussions by claiming that “sufficient examinations have already been made” of the matter.
Specialists in the field are still extremely worried about being forced to promote the capital move. Results of a seminar held on Thursday showed that economic growth could fall 1 percentage point every year beginning in 2011 if the capital is moved. It was pointed out a long time ago that a new administrative capital will not be suitable to be the capital of a unified Korea. And the minister of national defense said recently to the National Assembly that the ministry has not made a security review of the plan.
Cases of real estate speculation at the designated site for the new administrative capital are being reported every day. It makes us realize that it is extremely urgent to find a plan that can achieve high levels of population dispersion and balanced development.
First, we must open discussions where critics and supporters alike can express their own opinions on this issue. As a responsible news media, we will also continue to search for productive alternatives.
In connection with the issue, the attitude of the Grand National Party has been spiritless, irresponsible and cowardly. The party does not even have an official party opinion on the transfer of the capital. Without producing any substitute proposals, it only criticizes the government plan as hasty.
It is obvious why the Grand National Party is trying to see where the wind blows. If they oppose the move, they will have to worry about the people living in the Chungcheong provinces. If they agree, they fear that they will lose the votes of their existing supporters and those who live in the Seoul metropolitan area.
That is why the Grand National Party has stepped aside to watch. Can this kind of opposition party be considered reliable?
The opposition party has no reason to exist if they remain oblivious to the situation, where people even discuss the withdrawal of President Roh. The party must reveal its position on the matter as soon as possible. Based on its decision, it must gain the public’s support and compete with the Uri Party and Blue House.
Also, regarding the bill on the new administrative capital that passed the National Assembly, they should stop saying it was “wrong” or that they are “repenting,” and put down their foot. The Grand National Party should no longer act like a spectator of the disputes from the stands.
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