[EDITORIALS]Start over on the capital move

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[EDITORIALS]Start over on the capital move

Kang Dong-suk, the Minister of Construction and Transportation said, “We will discuss the plan for building a new administrative capital from the beginning.” That is only reasonable because the Constitutional Court said the original plan was unconstitutional. The three principles that Mr. Kang suggested ― “the balanced development of the nation, solving the overpopulation of the Seoul metropolitan area, and settling public opinion in the Chungcheong provinces” ― are all desirable. But Mr. Kang revoked his statement one day later, after Uri Party members and Chungcheong residents exploded in anger. That is disappointing.
What the people of Chungcheong province and the Uri Party want is the construction of a special administrative city that would have all government bodies except for the Blue House and the National Assembly moved there. The furor felt by the people of Gongju-Yeongi, designated as the site of the new administrative capital, and the people of the rest of the Chungcheong region is understandable. But a relocation that would require colossal amounts of tax money and is related to national competitiveness should not be pursued just for the sake of appeasing public ire. Nowhere else in the world does a president and his administrative government work in different cities. To move all administration except the Blue House and create a special administrative city is to completely ignore efficiency in running the country. Even if information and technology levels have developed, in important tasks the impact of face-to-face discussions is necessary. That is why financial and high-tech headquarters are centered in major cities such as New York, London and Paris.
By creating an administrative city in Gongju-Yeongi, the traffic between Seoul and Chungcheong will increase immensely, thus creating a strong axis that links the metropolitan area with the Chungcheong provinces, making balanced national development harder, not easier.
In order to achieve balanced national development, we must look at other options such as decentralization, corporate cities, innovation clusters and tourism belts. We could consider transferring research and education institutes and related government bodies to the regional areas.
To create a special administrative city would be to try to nullify the court’s decision. Let’s start from zero.
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