New proposals for Sejong City unveiled

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New proposals for Sejong City unveiled


Prime Minister Chung Un-chan announces the new proposal for the Sejong City project yesterday at the Central Government Complex in Seoul. [YONHAP]

Prime Minister Chung Un-chan yesterday officially unveiled the revised development plans for Sejong City in South Chungcheong, including building plans by business giants such as Samsung, Hanwha, Lotte and Woongjin together with Kaist and Korea University.

The government is set to launch a related legislative process to make it all happen, but strong resistance from Chungcheong residents and opposition political parties indicate that a bumpy road lies ahead.

In separate press conferences, leaders of governments in both South Chungcheong and North Chungcheong insisted that “proceeding with the original plan is the sole alternative.”

As he has reiterated since controversies over redrawing plans for developing the city emerged in tandem with his appointment in late September last year, Prime Minister Chung said the original plan by the former Roh Moo-hyun administration to relocate nine ministries and other government agencies will be entirely nullified.

Lee Wan-koo, former governor of South Chungcheong, said, “I can see that the government strived to provide self-sufficient functions with Chungcheong. But the [revised] plans are largely insufficient for tackling issues such as balanced national development, overpopulation of the Seoul metropolitan area and discrimination against other cities.”

Residents of Yeongi County, where the new Sejong City is being built, also said the new government plans are “far from being new, except for the fact that the original administrative relocation plan was lifted.”

But Seoul and some other regions, with no interest in losing facilities themselves, welcomed the government decision. Nam Sang-woo, mayor of Cheongju, a city in North Chungcheong, said, “It is important to think about what to do for balanced regional development.”

The main opposition Democratic and second-tier Liberty Forward parties immediately began antigovernment protests, insisting on the “original plans.”

Some party members shaved their heads at the National Assembly building in Yeouido, western Seoul, in a collective protest.


Construction yesterday continued on the first buildings at the planned site for Sejong City. [YONHAP]

“Sejong City has been transformed into one of those industrial cities and public opinion has been split. Chungcheong has degenerated into a way to maintain the vested interests of the Seoul metropolitan area centralists ... Who will listen to our anger and pleas?” said the Liberty Forward Party in a statement. The party is based in Chungcheong.

Park Geun-hye, who leads a faction within the GNP that is against the idea of scrapping the original plan, made no official comment. She reiterated her position in her last public appearance last Thursday.

Prime Minister Chung said the government intends to advance the date of completion for the city development project from the original 2030 to 2020. By then, the city will have a population of 500,000 and create a total of 246,000 new jobs. Fifteen percent of its energy will be from renewable sources, the government said.

“If any political subplot was involved in the past promise, wouldn’t it be the courageous determination of a leader who esteems the country to adjust it even if it’s late? Construction of Sejong City is an immensely crucial national affair,” said Chung in a press conference.

The city, four times the size of Bundang, a new town near Seoul, will be built into an “education and science belt,” according to Kwon Tae-shin, chief of staff at the Prime Minister’s Office. “The goal of the original plan was building a past-centered administrative city, while we are now pursuing a future-oriented cutting-edge economic city,” he said.

The four Korean conglomerates and SSF, an Austrian solar power cell module producer, will invest a combined 4.5 trillion won ($4.02 billion) in green industries such as renewable energy, light-emitting diodes and carbon abatement technologies.

Korea University and Kaist, or Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, will each be given one square kilometer of land and operate research-focused undergraduate and graduate courses. Kaist has a main campus in Daejeon, a metropolitan city next to Sejong.

The government will sign a memorandum of understanding with those companies and universities by the end of this week and aims to pass related bills at the April National Assembly session.


The government will also designate 3.3 million square meters in the city to develop an “international science business belt” linked to Daedeok, Osong and Ochang - existing neighboring cities specializing in scientific research.

By 2015, 3.5 trillion won will be spent to build a Sejong international research institute that will accommodate a heavy ion collider, smaller think tanks and a graduate school.

Friction surrounding Sejong City dates back to 2002 when then-president-elect Roh Moo-hyun pledged to relocate the country’s capital to the city in South Chungcheong.

Following heated debate over the plan’s constitutionality, the original promise was revised to moving only administrative units in 2005 as a compromise between the then-ruling Democratic Party and main opposition Grand National Party.

At the time, then-GNP leader Park Geun-hye led the negotiations while Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak opposed the plan. The name Sejong was designated for 2.97 square kilometers of land in Yeongi County and the cuty if Gongju in South Chungcheong in December 2006 and a groundbreaking ceremony was held in July 2007.

By Seo Ji-eun []
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[세종시] 수정안 발표문 요지

정운찬 국무총리는 11일 오전 TV로 생중계된 세종시 수정안 대국민 발표를 통해 부처이전 중심의 원안 백지화를 선언하고, 대신 국제과학비즈니스벨트 유치를 통한 교육.과학 중심의 경제도시 건설방안을 담은 정부의 세종시 수정안을 공개했다.

정 총리는 "세종시 같은 국가적 대사를 결정하는 기준은 어느 방안이 국민과 국가의 이익을 극대화하느냐는 것"이라며 "긴 안목으로 세종시의 미래를 활짝 열어달라"고 당부했으며, 아울러 수정안의 조속한 국회 통과를 주문했다.

다음은 정 총리의 세종시 발전방안(수정안) 발표문 요지.

세종시는 어제의 잘못을 바로잡는 일이자, 새로운 내일의 토대를 다지는 시대적 과업이다. 충청권은 물론, 대한민국이 50년, 100년 먹고살 '제3의 쌀'을 창조해야 한다. 여기에는 정치적 고려나 지역적 이해관계가 끼어들 여지가 없다.

세종시 같은 국가적 대사(大事)를 결정하는 기준은 단순하고 명료하다. 어느 방안이 국민과 국가의 이익을 극대화하느냐는 것, 그 이상도 그 이하도 아니다. 세종시 건설은 정치적 신의 문제 이전에 막중한 국가 대사이다.

수도 이전이 벽에 부닥치자 행정부처 일부 이전으로 대신하려는 것은 시대의 수레바퀴를 거꾸로 돌리자는 것과 다를 바 없다.

행정부를 분산하면 매년 3조~5조원의 비용이 낭비된다.

행정도시가 관(官) 주도의 과거식 개발계획이라면, 세종시는 과학기술이 교육과 문화와 어우러진 '미래형 첨단 경제도시'이다.
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