Abandoned principlesThe Lee Myung-bak administration is finding it difficult to free itself from the work begun by Roh Moo-hyun.
During a meeting on regional development, President Lee said, “The principle of pre-existing regional balanced development will stay as it is.”
This means that he will be following Roh’s distribution-oriented policy exactly. In fact, the land development plan that the government announced yesterday is nothing but the multifunctional administration city, innovation city and corporate city plan by Roh.
The new government did mention a development plan that is centered on a regional economic zone, which was proclaimed during the presidential transition period. However, it was unclear how this will be connected to a regional balanced development policy.
All in all, the Lee government has not moved a centimeter forward from Roh’s regional balanced development policy. It handed out a compromised measure for land development whose content is ambiguous.
The alleviation of Seoul metropolitan development regulations wasn’t even discussed. And the forced relocation of public companies to rural areas is being pushed forward.
Choe Sang-cheul, who leads the regional balanced development presidential committee, stated it bluntly:
“The plan of developing the rural area first before lifting the regulation on the metropolitan region [which was understood but not spoken of during the Roh administration] has not been changed,” he said.
He even confirmed that there have been no changes made to the innovation city development plan where relocating public companies to rural areas is a premise. This government’s earlier promises to boldly lift regulations on metropolitan areas and to fully revise innovation city plans is nowhere to be found.
Although it argues that this new plan is different from the monolithic regional balanced development policy, there’s nothing new when looking into the content.
Conscious of regional resistance, the government did not dare to retouch the pre-existing regional development policy and could not come up with a new bold land development plan.
It is understandable that this government has lost some of its energy to push forward with new policies due to the beef issue. However, it is not right to try to read the public’s motives at all times.