Regional Meeting of Presidential Committee for National Cohesion
Date December 9th, 2014 | Venue Main Conference Room, Seoul City Hall
It is a great pleasure to be here today. I am the mayor of Seoul, Park Won Soon. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Chairman Han Gwang-Ok and members of the Presidential Committee for National Cohesion, representatives of various organizations, and honorary vice mayors for taking time out of your busy schedules to attend this meeting and offer us your invaluable advice.
Today’s meeting means even more to me because national cohesion through communication, which the committee is focusing on, has a lot of things in common with the administrative principle I pursue in our own administration. I understand that the committee is visiting 15 sites in 12 cities and provinces, starting with Chungcheongnam-do, to listen attentively to and collect residents’ opinions on various regional issues. I think communication starts at these sites.
A while ago, the residents in Sinhwa 1-ri, Uljin-gun had been suffering, their very lives threatened by the surrounding Hanul and Sinhanul Nuclear Power Plants, transmission towers, and substations for 30 years. I have heard that the committee settled the conflict between the Government, the Korea Electric Power Corporation, the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corporation and Uljin-gun, and residents through active arbitration. This is truly a great achievement. I think harmony, coexistence, tolerance, and cohesion contain the power to create communities of happy residents in a sustainable society.
According to “Stories of the Romans” written by Nanami Shiono, the power with which Rome could build the empire of a thousand years was the spirit of tolerance and cohesion. Rome instilled in its inhabitants a sense of civic pride through tolerance, by accepting a variety of religions, and through cohesion, by giving residents Roman citizenship. Rome was in full flourish when it spread policies of tolerance and cohesion most widely. Rome collapsed when it was infested with oppression, discrimination, and extravagance. World history proves that cohesion brings prosperity, while division brings decline.
Seoul is making an effort to create a city of cohesion with all 10 million of our citizens. We are dedicated to reducing conflicts through communication with citizens, and creating a city where everyone dreams, builds, and enjoys their lives together through cooperative governance.
We are reforming and expanding communication and citizen participation systems through such programs as cheongchaek (policy making by listening to citizens), collaborative deliberation, open mix-style gatherings, honorary vice mayors, daily mayors, field office of mayors, “Eungdapso”, M-voting, public participation in budgeting, and policy expos, all with the goal of listening to citizens and making decisions accordingly.
In addition, under the principle that “Citizens are the mayors,” we are resolving with citizens a number of current issues for Seoul to address from major policies with different interests entangled to citizens’ everyday life.
On the other hand, it is true that there are difficulties in adjusting and resolving such a large number of highly divisive issues with sharply conflicting interests among those concerned, especially considering the large population of Seoul. For that, Seoul will implement the administration of “Seoul Together” to communicate, cooperate, and share with every member of society including citizens, corporations, and all other interested parties.
The committee’s recommendations regarding public administration, based on valuable experience and know-how obtained from a variety of experiences, will tremendously help Seoul to grow through coexistence. I would appreciate your support in the future. Seoul will be proud take the lead in national cohesion based on cooperation and innovation. Thank you very much.