[EDITORIALS]Ease regulations regardlessThe government yesterday presented its proposal for balanced development of the nation, titled “A New Plan for the Development of the Seoul Metropolitan Area and Construction of Modern Cities in Provinces.”
The gist of the plan involves relaxing regulations to make the Seoul metropolitan area the economic hub of Northeast Asia and to build modern cities in each province according to their local characteristics when public institutions concentrated in Seoul are moved to provinces.
Also included is a plan to ease regulations in Seoul to enhance its international competitiveness.
But the problem is that it is based on the premise that the administrative capital will be moving. The government said that the easing of regulations will be in conjunction with the capital relocation, but the regulations should be changed regardless of what happens with the capital.
The government believes the competitiveness of the metropolitan area can’t be enhanced without moving the capital. Therefore, it plans to loosen regulations step by step as the move progresses. Yet it’s hard to believe deregulation is possible only if the population of Seoul decreases by half a million.
It is not right to make construction of modern regional cities dependent on the relocation of the capital. We wonder whether the government will abandon its plan to develop cities if the capital ends up staying where it is.
Why does the government try to connect everything with the capital relocation? The government insists that it is difficult to persuade public institutions to move to the provinces if the government itself does not move outside the Seoul area. However, it is possible to move public institutions to provinces and construct modern cities without moving the administrative capital.
Also, we have pointed out repeatedly, through editorials, that the capital relocation should be decided through national consensus.
Moving the capital and lifting regulations in the capital are two entirely different matters. The latter is necessary for its own reasons, none of which have to do with a new capital.
Using deregulation as a decoy for the move is not desirable. Enhancing Seoul’s competitiveness and pursuing a balanced national development should be promoted separately from the capital move