Park briefed on new land ministry growth planThe Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will focus on developing 10 or more provincial areas and cities to bring more balanced growth to Korea, the ministry announced yesterday.
In a report to President Park Geun-hye as she visited the Sejong government complex - itself an attempt to spread growth outside of Seoul - the Land Ministry described a plan to promote development of cities where provincial governments are located, including Suwon in Gyeonggi, Chuncheon in Gangwon, Jeonju in North Jeolla and Jeju Island.
The ministry’s plan also includes five larger metropolitan areas: Busan, Daegu, Ulsan, Gwangju and Daejeon.
The idea is to develop these non-capital cities into key areas of economic growth.
The ministry will concentrate efforts on developing backwaters of each city based on complaints from local residents, the ministry said.
“The former government’s regional development plan didn’t actually touch people’s lives, because it didn’t really consider what residents needed,” said a ministry official.
The Lee Myung-bak administration had a bigger plan, named “5+2,” to divide the country into five big economic districts (referring to the Seoul metropolitan area, Chungcheong, Honam, North Gyeongsang and the southeastern area) and two special districts (Gangwon and Jeju).
The ministry also disclosed a plan to develop areas near the Seomjin River, which is between the eastern and western parts of the country. It envisions an integrated zone of advanced transport, culture and tourism along the river. A space theme park will be established in Goheung, South Jeolla, by 2016 as part of the regional integration project.
The ministry also said it wants to increase its share of the global construction market to 9 percent by reaching $100 billion in overseas orders by 2017.
Last year, the country landed $70 billion won worth of construction orders abroad. Most of them were for building plants. The ministry is seeking to diversify the country’s target markets from the Middle East to other regions like Africa and Southeast Asia.
As for the controversial four-rivers restoration project of the previous government, the ministry will conduct a reexamination led by private institutions on safety, water quality and impacts on the ecosystem. The reexamination will be made in cooperation with the Prime Minister’s Office.
To jibe with the government’s policy of coprosperity between small and large businesses, the Land Ministry will root out unfair practices in the construction industry, particularly large construction companies exploiting their subcontractors.
For public construction projects, the ministry will crack down on companies giving overly low bids.
By Song Su-hyun [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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