[EDITORIALS]Development plan is neededA national debate has arisen over just how much the government should loosen development regulations within the capital city area. The intensity of this debate was seen when Gyeonggi Governor Sohn Hak-gyu walked out in the middle of a session on the development of the capital city area headed by Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan. While the central government wants to keep the deregulation to a minimum, Gyeoggi province wants to do away with as many limits as possible. Mr. Sohn declared that he would not attend the session unless the central government changed its position. However, without the presence of the Gyeonggi province governor, the session has no meaning. It will only bring conflict and controversy rather than solutions.
The problem is that this situation had long been anticipated and that it could likely worsen. In the beginning, the government’s plan had been to transfer the capital city to the Chungcheong provinces and several government agencies to various regions to encourage more geographically balanced development in the country. In return for taking away the government agencies, the government would loosen regulations for residents of Seoul and the vicinity area. However, this gives the impression that the regulations the government suggests it will loosen for the capital city area are not in accord with the comprehensive plan of national land usage. Instead it appears makeshift in order to appease the voters in the area.
The measures seem to follow no consistent principle, nor do they have any concrete follow-up plans. On top of that, the heads of local autonomous groups located other than in the capital city area have already said that any such measures are discriminatory.
Meanwhile, the gulf between the capital city area and the rest of the country will only get deeper if we continue with these poorly drawn plans.
Unless we resolve the fundamental issues of our national plan for a more balanced development of the land, we will always see conflict and tension. Putting fundamental issues aside to deal with minor details is not going to get us any productive results.