[EDITORIALS]A balanced debate

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[EDITORIALS]A balanced debate

The JoongAng Ilbo sponsored a public forum Wednesday to talk about the relocation of the nation’s administrative capital and the future of our country. Supporters and the objectors of the relocation were able to narrow their differences during the forum.
We also welcome that the Uri Party expressed, at the forum, its willingness to discuss at the National Assembly shortening the list of government agencies to be moved and relaxing the restrictions on further development of the capital region.
Until now, most of the public discussions led by the government have been criticized because the panels were packed with experts who support the move. Therefore, the JoongAng Ilbo’s event provided a valuable opportunity for the people to make up their own minds on the move. Both sides, persons who supported and who objected to the plan, discussed many issues that were critical for the capital relocation.
Will capital relocation heighten the nation’s competitiveness or not? Will capital relocation pave the way to developing the nation with balance among the different regions? Or will it worsen the imbalanced development by connecting the capital region and the Chungcheong area to make a growth corridor and exclude other parts of the country? Is the capital relocation an appropriate preparation for reunification with North Korea? These were some of the many topics discussed.
The fruit of the discussion came from listening to each other’s arguments and seeking alternatives rather than criticizing each other.
We were able to see a possibility of drawing up an alternative scenario through such discussions.
For example, the panel presented a plan of reducing the scale of the new capital to the level of a special administrative city.
Another proposal presented was developing a tourism belt along the southern cost from Mokpo to Busan in order to counterbalance the capital region.
We should no longer waste our time and energy on having fruitless debates on the capital relocation issue.
It is time to assess the plan by examining it as a policy for the balanced development of the nation and for heightening the competitive power of the country. It is also time to search for a realistic alternative to the relocation of the capital.
We hope to have more fair public discussions to examine the policy.
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