Focus on four river areasThe Korean government finally took a proper step when President Lee Myung-bak’s administration decided to turn its focus on improvement of the four river areas: the Han River, Yeongsan
River, Nakdong River and the Geum River, instead of the cross-country canal plan. If the government continued to promote its reckless cross-country canal project, another massive controversy would engulf Korea, just as the current mad cow disease controversy and the planned resumption of U.S. beef imports have swept across the country.
No one will oppose the government when it promises to improve the quality of water in the rivers as well as restore the regions near the four rivers. Some residents near the Nakdong and
Yeongsan Rivers still support Lee’s grand canal development project. In the two regions, the new administration will be able to dig a canal as planned. Lee Myung-bak did not pay attention to public opinion and rashly promoted the cross-country canal idea. Lee’s stubbornness made more people resist the idea.
From now on, the Lee administration is expected to abandon the reckless plan. The government needs to start construction of a canal in stages only if locals welcome the idea. Even though
Lee said, “My canal project is the right thing, so follow me,” who would follow him?
It’s time to retreat from the canal plan now.
The government has to solve issues more practically to regain public support. To replace the enervated plan, the Korean government should restore public faith in its governing ability.
The new river-improvement idea should be different from the ill-advised grand canal plan. Some people suspect that the Lee administration adopted a temporary expedient to stop the spread of public criticism over the grand canal. To clear all doubt, the government should confirm its direction.
The president has to officially give up his plan and he should announce the new plan, leading to improvement of the four rivers areas.
According to several surveys, 80 percent of people in Korea oppose the cross-country canal. At this time, restoration and preservation are more important than new development. The administration should no longer spend time arguing and persuading. It is wasteful. After observing what the majority wants, the administration has to formulate a new plan to improve the areas of the four rivers. This is utilitarianism. This is a practical approach using mutual understanding.