[EDITORIALS]Refer city plan to the peopleThe debate in political circles is heating up over which government organizations should be moved out of Seoul, and how to move them. Each party is having trouble reaching a consensus on the issue because the parties are splintered by conflicting support from Seoul and the provinces.
The problem is so bad that a meeting of the governing party, the government and the Blue House to draw up a list of organizations to move has been postponed.
Organizations that have been included on the list are trying hard to be dropped from it, while local governments are eagerly competing to invite organizations with financial clout and influence to their areas.
The plan for moving government offices shouldn’t be discussed in this manner. If the move is decided by regional egoism and political calculation, it is worrisome that another conflict over the administrative capital move will flare. The government is promoting the move, with a new administrative city plan, to promote balanced development of the provinces. We have no objection to balanced development of the nation, and we understand the intention to let public organizations spearhead the plan.
However, what should precede the move is a consensus from the people on the necessity and the principle of it. It can’t be done by deciding the number of organizations to be moved.
Prior to the debate on the move, the government must present a plan on how to develop national territory as a whole. In every region, there should be a specialized development plan. It is necessary for selecting suitable public enterprises to specialized areas. Without such a plan, the government can’t persuade people, and it will be swayed by regional egoism and the interests of political parties.
We take note of the fact that the plan to move public offices to other provinces in 1973 failed. Among 46 offices included in the plan, 18 didn’t move at all or returned to the Seoul area later. They found difficulties in cooperation with related government offices because of distance, and the education and living conditions of the areas where they moved were bad.
The Seoul branch of some offices became abnormally larger than what were supposed to be their head offices. If the plan to move government offices to the provinces is promoted in a hurry, there is no guarantee that the failure of 1973 will not repeat itself.