[EDITORIALS]Review the capital move

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[EDITORIALS]Review the capital move

The government announced the administrative capital will be relocated to Yeongi-Gongju in South Chungcheong province. It did so by ignoring the public’s call for a national ballot and the opposition’s request to set up a special committee to study the matter. This is akin to saying that the forthcoming Constitutional Court decision will have no bearing. This shows imprudence and obstinacy.
Prime Minister Lee Hai-chan claimed that since the bill on relocating the capital passed the National Assembly, we must respect the Assembly’s decision. This goes against the claim he made only a few months ago that the Assembly’s decision to impeach the president ignored the wishes of the public and was not acceptable. What makes the public nervous is that this kind of contradictory logic could be applied in the process of deciding on relocating the administrative capital. We cannot just accept the historic task of relocating the capital based on such contradictory logic.
The public is still unconvinced of why we should move the capital in the first place. The government’s rationale of balanced development of the country and lessening overcrowding in the Seoul metropolitan area could be achieved through other policies. The government alleges that no other policy could solve the two aforementioned points. But that is because the government has never sought balanced development and lessening of overcrowding in the true sense, based on a growth-oriented economic policy. Experts say that the government has never really made efforts to solve those problems. If the objective of relocating the administrative capital is really balanced development and reducing overcrowding, then the government should have tried a variety of regional development or decentralization policies.
Before going ahead, one must consider the role of the new capital not just within our country but also in the world, and there should be a clear philosophy and objective in relocating the capital. In this respect, it is not too late to pursue the relocation of the capital after gaining consensus from the majority of the public.
The relocation should not be enforced through obstinacy. Nor should the opposition to relocating the capital be translated as resistance to the government. We urge the government to review the validity of relocating the capital and properly accept public opinion. It is never too late to do so.
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