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  • 2020 New Year’s Address

  • Mayor's News2 SMG 9854

    2020 New Year’s Address
    On the corner of the road to major change

    – A fair start line guaranteed by the Seoul Metropolitan Government –

    1. It is a time of major change.

    We bade farewell to 2019 and welcomed 2020.
    The economy and public welfare have not been kind to us.

    Korea’s economy is losing its drive for growth.
    Export-oriented growth of conglomerates has reached its limit.
    Competitiveness of the manufacturing industry is dropping as the days pass by,
    and independent businesses are hanging on by a thread.

    Before we knew it, we had begun falling into a trap of developed countries.
    This is a natural outcome caused by an absence of source technology and weak basic science.
    Once again, before us stand the challenges of a low birth rate and aging that will create sudden economic and social impacts.

    This must end.
    We require major change that will revive the economy and public welfare.

    2. Reasons for difficult living

    Looking back, our economy was facing a crisis for the past twenty years.
    Citizens faced difficulties in life even with a GNI per capita of USD 34,000 and a global ranking of number 13 in national competitiveness.
    Why is this?

    This is because there is little salary increase with skyrocketing house prices.
    No matter how hard we try, our efforts do not guarantee a bright future for ourselves and our children.
    The currently demanding house rent, private education expenses, and loan interests
    keep us from dreaming of tomorrow.
    The country is wealthy, but the citizens are not.
    What is the essence of this problem?

    The benefits of economic growth that we accomplished together
    were not evenly distributed to everyone.
    The root cause of the deteriorating public welfare
    is in economic inequality and the polarization of wealth.

    3. The essence of crisis is “inequality.”

    Dear esteemed citizens of Seoul and beloved families,

    “There is interest added to inequality.”
    A boy born in poverty grows into a poor young man
    who becomes an impoverished middle-aged man, and then into a poverty-stricken elder.
    A person who starts off without a house ends up in a smaller leased house,
    and then in a cramped house that demands the payment of a monthly rent.

    Income inequality and property gaps in everyday life are being passed down.
    Our society has reached a critical point of inequality and unfairness.
    There is no hope for our society
    if we do not correct the root cause that makes polarization and inequality permanent.

    Will we remain an “old country with ceased growth,”
    or become a “new country with new energy”?

    Today, we stand at a crossroads.
    We must find a new road immediately.

    4. Is your “starting line” fair?

    Life is commonly compared to a marathon.
    The time it takes to reach one’s destination
    depends on the values pursued, personal caliber, and efforts.
    However, a marathon seems fair because the starting line is the same.

    A major change that revives the economy and public welfare must begin at a “fair starting line.”

    Seoul will take the first step.
    Seoul has resolved to utilize all soluble economic resources
    for creating a “fair starting line” for citizens.

    5. We will guarantee a “fair starting line” to youths.

    Seoul prepared an unparalleled, extended budget of KRW 40 trillion for the first time in Seoul’s history.
    Seoul will prioritize investment in the futures of young people.
    Youths are the future power that drive our society forward.
    However, what is reality like for our younger generation?
    The younger generation struggles with living expenses and monthly rent, not to mention preparations for employment as they are tied down by mortgages.

    Seoul will stand by youths.
    Seoul will help youths speak of hope and not despair through a “fair starting line.”

    Seoul greatly multiplied the number of recipients for the Youth Allowance to 100,000
    to present more youths with the opportunity to dream.
    Seoul will also support 45,000 young people who are crammed into semi-basement rooms, rooftop rooms, and goshiwons and struggle to pay monthly rent
    with a monthly support of KRW 200,000 for ten months.

    6. We will support the starting lines of newlyweds with “homes.”

    “A poverty-stricken man has no land into which to bore a hole.”

    These are the words of Jeong Do-jeon of the Joseon dynasty
    who lamented over the impoverished lives of the public and attempted land reform.
    What is reality like today, six hundred years later?

    At the center of a social polarization structure is the “home.”
    The greatest factor that stands in the way of a fair starting line is the “home.”
    The moment a home became “commodity” for the purpose of speculation and not “a place in which to live,” a house became a burden and anguish.

    A reality in which marriage and childbirth are postponed
    because two people in love cannot afford a house together.

    This is unquestionably a tragedy.
    This is undoubtedly suffering.

    Therefore, the city of Seoul endeavors to make great change.
    In 2020, Seoul will greatly extend the housing support for newlyweds.
    All newlywed couples with less than KRW 100 million in combined income, excluding those with the ability to purchase homes on their own, will receive support from the city.

    The construction and supply of public rental housing, in which the city has invested approximately KRW 1 trillion annually for the past eight years, will continue into the next year.
    Two years later, Seoul will possess around 400,000 public rental houses that amount to 10% of all households in the city.
    The housing will first be used for the residential stability of low-income, vulnerable classes,
    but ultimately, the country must provide houses to all who need them, including the middle class.
    Rights to housing that are secured by the law must be realized.

    We are confident that housing stability is the beginning, becoming an opportunity for familial stability and consumption expansion, investment and innovation, and the virtuous cycle of growth.

    7. Seoul will begin the execution of the real estate “National Co-ownership System.”

    Seoul will take one step further.
    It is now the time to create a “society in which effort, not land, is respected.”
    The invincibility of real estate must come to an end.
    The “real estate republic” that is stained with unearned income will only lead our economy to a catastrophic end.
    I have proposed the introduction of a “National Co-ownership System”
    that thoroughly redeems unearned real estate income and development profit
    to allow the future generations and all of the people to enjoy benefits.

    Seoul will first make and actualize a real estate co-ownership fund (tentative).
    Public real estate property will be extended through redeemed unearned income and development profit,
    and supplied to businesses and individuals needing land and buildings at low prices.
    At the same time, the funds will be used for the supply of public rental housing to realize the housing rights of citizens and dramatically improve the quality of life.

    In addition, there must be an improvement in the real estate public announcement system.
    Seoul will create a “Public Real Estate Price Announcement Support Center”
    to ensure that the publicly announced real estate prices come close to the municipal rates.
    The city will also actively cooperate with matters essential to the estimation duties for the publicly announced prices of autonomous districts and the central government with substantial authority.

    8. A “warm starting line,” the start of complete care.

    Dear esteemed citizens of Seoul and beloved families,
    For the past eight years, Seoul increased the welfare budget with the belief that investing in the people is the true start to a “fair starting line.”
    In 2020, Seoul’s social welfare budget saw a breakthrough of KRW 12 trillion for the first time in the city’s history.

    Welfare is neither free nor a waste.
    It is the most powerful form of investment that can result in the world’s greatest earnings.
    This is an investment in the people, an investment in the future.

    The greatest tasks of the era that threatens our future are low birth rate and aging.
    The road to solving the problem of a low birth rate is
    the nation’s responsibility for childcare, education, and care.
    Who would want to give birth in an era that is harsher on mothers than it is on fathers, in an era where it seems that nobody has your back?

    Thus, Seoul made a decision.
    Seoul made the decision to make the city’s largest investment in pregnancy, childbirth, childcare, and care.
    The greatest change takes place in care.
    A Community Kium Center (afterschool care) will be installed in every neighborhood
    to construct a system in which our children can play and learn to their hearts’ content after school.
    This will lessen the burden of childcare for women and families.
    Support for infertile couples and children’s benefits will also be promoted.
    With Seoul’s concentrated investment, the use rate of public and national childcare centers by Seoul residents will see a breakthrough of 45%.

    We will make sure that the tragic fate of “Kim Ji-young, Born 1982” does not repeat itself in Seoul.
    We will ensure that women are liberated from childcare and family care
    so that they can develop experience and pioneer their fate.
    I believe that the fortification of such welfare can achieve a virtuous cyclical structure of innovation, growth, and distribution.

    9. Seoul will create the starting line of “future food.”

    In addition to a fair starting line, Seoul will work to create
    future food.

    It was here last year that I made the announcement that Seoul will become a top 5 global start-up city.
    For the past year, Seoul made many endeavors to support innovative start-ups
    that will be the new growth engine for our economy.
    We generously offered spaces, investments, and market support
    as needed by innovative start-ups and businesses.

    Thankfully, there were many reaped fruits and positive evaluations.
    In major bases for innovative start-ups, including Hongneung, Yangjae, and Yeouido,
    business spaces of 24,000 m2 were added,
    and shared facilities were made
    for the easy and quick commercialization of products by innovative start-ups and businesses.

    The city supported the launch of about 140 businesses overseas through foreign IR and market support,
    and became a testbed for over 200 companies.
    With the increasing number of global businesses taking up residence in the city
    came the entrance of global accelerators.

    However, we still have a long way to go.
    In 2020, Seoul will take a step further with the confidence that the creation of Seoul’s massive, innovative ecosystem is our economy’s future.
    This year, Seoul will continue to expand investments in the newly growing industries of the future
    and revitalize the innovative business cluster.
    We will actively support start-ups and the R&D of new industries,
    such as cultural tourism services, digital content, AI, biomedical sciences, and fintech,
    at the six new convergence industry bases in Yangjae, Hongneung, Magok, Sangam, and Guro G-Valley.
    We will promote main university towns in Seoul as start-up bases
    to become a leader in creating an innovative start-up ecosystem.
    We promise to make Seoul not only a champion in creating future food,
    but also a champion of the nation.
    We will create a tolerant city in which all talented youths can take on the challenge of start-ups,
    and achieve a fountain effect instead of a trickle-down effect.

    On January 7, I will attend CES 2020 in America’s Las Vegas, Nevada.
    There, we will form a foothold for the launch of start-ups overseas
    and strive to attract foreign investments and future food.

    10. Seoul’s 10-year revolution becomes Korea’s standard.

    Today, our society has fallen into the chaos of division, conflict, and antagonism.
    We cannot open up a new future with unconditional opposition and politics rooted in hatred and animosity.
    Political circles must work together
    to correct injustice and inequality.

    In a time of intensifying national desire,
    now is the ideal, golden time to correct inequality.
    It is my hope that the nearing general election will be a process of identifying the essence of inequality and injustice of the times,
    and discovering a solution to these problems.

    A fair starting line helps us dream of hope.
    Everyone in Seoul starts at the same starting line to race towards a goal.
    Seoul will take the start in making major changes to revive the economy and public welfare.

    Though there may be limitations in power and finance, we will continue
    to lead other local governments with new challenges and experiments
    as we form a cooperative system with the central government.

    Dear esteemed citizens of Seoul and beloved families,
    my answer has always been, and will always be, the “citizens.”
    I, Park Won-soon, have 10 million citizens by my side.
    And I have an encouraging family of Seoul’s public officials.
    The past eight years have been filled with happiness thanks to all of you.
    Seoul has become a top-notch city because of you.

    I will continue to strive towards the completion of the “10-year revolution that changes the lives of the citizens.”
    This 10-year revolution will become Korea’s standard.
    I will boldly take that road with the citizens.
    Thank you.