President Moon Jae-in on Jan. 27 delivers a special address to the World Economic Forum 2021 via videoconferencing from Cheong Wa Dae. (Yonhap News)

By Xu Aiying and Yoon Sojung

President Moon Jae-in on Jan. 27 called Korea a "safe and stable partner and investment destination."

In a special address to the Davos Agenda 2021 of the World Economic Forum via videoconferencing, President Moon said that despite the pandemic, Korea has never resorted to a lockdown or border closure.

"I hope that the Korean New Deal will lay ground for global companies and venture start-ups to take on new challenges and become a catalyst for expanding cooperation in future industries," he said.

"Korea will host the second P4G (Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030) Summit in May, through which we seek to spearhead international cooperation in overcoming the climate crisis."

"As COVID-19 becomes more prolonged, inequality is widening — a gap that we are witnessing both within countries, and between countries,” he said. "Equally as important as responding to the immediate COVID-19 outbreak and the economic crisis, is our commitment to pool our wisdom to fight against polarization and inequality in the post-COVID-19 era."

On Korea's COVID-19 situation, the president said, "Korea has entered the stage of overcoming this pandemic, and has set a goal for inclusive recovery and resurgence."

"As with all other countries, we will begin by carrying out vaccinations which will be the first step we take towards herd immunity," he added.

"Korea has entered into contracts with many pharmaceutical companies to secure a supply of various types of vaccines that will sufficiently cover our entire population. We have decided on free vaccinations for the country to uphold the cause of an inclusive recovery in our everyday lives."

The chief executive's speech was streamed via videoconferencing with other influential global figures attending the forum in Switzerland, which hosts the event every year.




President Moon Jae-in on Sept. 3 speaks at the first strategy meeting for the Korean New Deal held at Cheong Wa Dae. (Yonhap News)

By Lee Hana

President Moon Jae-in has announced funding of KRW 170 trillion for projects and businesses related to the Korean New Deal over the next five years and a policy fund worth KRW 20 trillion to invest in related sectors.

At the first strategy meeting for the Korean New Deal on Sept. 3 held at Cheong Wa Dae, he predicted that this new national strategy will "open the future of the Korean economy through New Deal funds and New Deal financing."

"Together with the people, we aim to spearhead the Korean New Deal's success based on three pillars -- fiscal planning, financing from state-run financial institutions and private sector financing," he said. 

On the "participatory" New Deal fund that anyone can pitch into, the president said it will "intensively invest" in Korean New Deal sectors.

Adding that "more than anything else, financing from state-run and private sector institutions is pivotal to the success of the Korean New Deal," the president said that through 2025, public and private institutions will inject KRW 100 trillion and KRW 70 trillion, respectively, into Korean New Deal projects and businesses.

He added that "if people invest in the participatory New Deal fund, they will be able to share in the results," and that "on top of generating profits for individuals, it will be an opportunity for them to directly invest in Korea's future and social values."

"It's also very meaningful that abundant liquidity in the market is being directed from non-productive areas such as real state to productive fields."

"Since the Government and financial sector have joined forces for the Republic of Korea’s future, I look forward to this providing great hope for our economy and people," he said.

After the meeting, Reuters on the same day said in the article "S. Korea plans to create $17 bln fund for 'New Deal' economic initiatives," "The fund, aimed at financing economic initiatives that invest in technology sectors for jobs and growth, will be partly financed by policy banks as well as retail investors who will be invited to make investments."




President Moon Jae-in speaks during a meeting of his senior secretaries

President Moon Jae-in on June 29 chairs a meeting of his senior secretaries at Cheong Wa Dae. (Yonhap News)

By Xu Aiying and Lee Jihae

President Moon Jae-in on June 29 said, "We must go beyond defensive responses in the face of a crisis. We must shift to a more proactive stance to turn the global supply chain crisis into a new opportunity for us." 

In a meeting of his senior secretaries at Cheong Wa Dae that he chaired on the first anniversary of Japan's imposition of trade sanctions on Korea, he said, "We have unwaveringly tackled Japan's provocative measures head on, turning it into a new opportunity instead."

The president also mentioned the country's goal of becoming a "powerhouse for materials and parts" and a "global production hub for high-tech industries." He urged the public and private sectors to cooperate to mobilize all of the nation's capabilities.

"The prolonged COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the global economic downturn even more," he said. "We all must join forces and set out to surmount the national crisis together."

"Above all else, support from the National Assembly is urgently needed."

The president added, "I am once again calling on the Assembly to respond to the urgent requests of the people and businesses, who are ardently looking forward to the third supplementary budget." 


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President Moon Jae-in on June 30 holds a summit via videoconferencing with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at Cheong Wa Dae. (Yonhap News)

By Lee Hana

President Moon Jae-in on June 30 held a summit via videoconferencing with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

With this year marking the tenth anniversary of the strategic partnership between Korea and the European Union (EU), President Moon said, "Based on the achievements we have accomplished together over the past decade, Korea will cooperate even more closely and join forces in preparing for the post-COVID-19 world."

This was the first summit between Korea and the EU since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.

"In the course of responding to COVID-19, the world has once again experienced a great awakening with regards to the significance of climate issues and the environment, and has felt the force of the rapidly advancing digital age. I believe that strengthening cooperation on climate change and the digital economy is of paramount importance as we prepare for the future together," President Moon said.

He also hailed the new EU leadership for being at the forefront of taking on global climate and environmental issues through the European Green Deal policy, adding that he hopes the EU will serve as an important partner for the Moon administration's Green New Deal.

The two EU leaders lauded the Korean government's "effective response" to the pandemic through "rapid, transparent and innovative measures." They also assessed how bilateral relations have deepened and developed based on three major agreements on political relations and sectoral cooperation, free trade and cooperation in crisis management.

Marking a decade of their strategic partnership, President Moon and the two EU leaders agreed to expand cooperation in areas such as economy and trade, digitization, the environment and energy in a mutually beneficial and future-oriented way.

They also agreed that establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula and developing inter-Korean relations are important not only for both Koreas and Northeast Asia, but for global peace and stability, pledging to work together on this issue.

With Seoul set to host next year the second Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G) Summit, President Moon asked for the EU's active participation in this event.



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President Moon Jae-in on July 14 speaks to a national reporting event for the Korean New Deal at Cheong Wa Dae. (Yonhap News)

By Lee Kyoung Mi and Lee Jihae

President Moon Jae-in on July 14 called his proposed Korean New Deal "a declaration of the Republic of Korea’s great transition into a leading nation."

"Building upon robust employment and social safety nets, we will establish two pillars – the Digital New Deal and the Green New Deal. Through these, we will move closer to becoming a leading nation at the forefront of this historic global transformation," he said.

The president was speaking to a national reporting meeting at Cheong Wa Dae in announcing a comprehensive plan for the New Deal, which seeks to overcome the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19.

He announced direct government investment of KRW 114 trillion by 2025 in the project, and the addition of private and local government funds will raise the total to KRW 160 trillion. "Some 890,000 new jobs will be created by 2022 and 1.9 million by 2025," he added.

Turning to the Digital New Deal, the chief executive said the goal is to "transform our economy from a fast-follower into a pace-setter," adding, "With bolder and forward-looking investments, we will strongly push digitalization in all areas of our lives, including the social, economic, educational, industrial and medical. In this manner, we will march toward becoming the No. 1 digital country, the global leader."

Calling the Green New Deal a "preemptive response to climate crisis," he said, "When Korea – which has received global acclaim for its COVID-19 response – strives to foster its Green New Deal, we will be able to lead a new global order of solidarity and cooperation to resolve the climate crisis."

President Moon also announced the 10 leading areas of the project. The digital sectors are data dams, AI (artificial intelligence) government and smart medical infrastructure and the green ones green remodeling, green energy and eco-friendly future mobility.

The main projects in which both the digital and green aspects overlap are green smart schools, digital twins, social overhead capital digitalization for public safety and smart green industrial complexes.



President Moon Jae-in on July 14 gives a speech on his proposed Korean New Deal at Cheong Wa Dae. (Yonhap News)

By Lee Hana

The Korean New Deal plan unveiled by President Moon Jae-in on July 14 is an initiative anchored in part by an eco-friendly strategy of changing Korea from a carbon-reliant economy to one using low levels of carbon over the next five years.

According to the administration's plan announced on July 14, the project's Green New Deal aims to create 659,000 jobs by 2025 by investing KRW 73.4 trillion in areas such as responses to climate change, green infrastructure, renewable energy and green industries.

The first task is to turn public urban areas into green, zero-energy spaces. Public rental housing units, cultural facilities, public and private day care centers, and elementary, middle and high schools will be remodeled or reconstructed as energy-efficient, eco-friendly buildings.

To restore the ecosystem, some 25 smart green cities and numerous city forests will be built and 16 national parks and 25 damaged urban areas restored.

For the second task of raising the use of decentralized low-carbon energy, 1.13 million electric vehicles and 200,000 hydrogen fuel cell cars will enter the market. The number of charging stations will increase, old diesel cars will be swapped for LPG or electric vehicles and proper car disposal will receive support.

For energy conservation, intelligent smart grid systems will be set up and the supply of clean and renewable energies like wind, solar and hydroelectric power expanded.  

The final task is to form an ecosystem that supports green industry innovation. For this purpose, 100 smart factories that minimize pollution by reusing industrial heat and waste while using renewable energy will be built. A combined 1,750 clean plants providing technical support for reducing contaminants will also be added.

President Moon on the same day said in a speech at Cheong Wa Dae, "A low-carbon economy is also a global trend. The Green New Deal will not only help improve the quality of our lives by addressing the fine dust and other issues, but also enhance our industrial competitiveness in the face of ever-tightening international environmental regulations. In addition, it will help create a significant number of jobs through the growth of green industries."



President Moon Jae-in and seven other world leaders said in an op-ed in The Washington Post posted on July 15 that the world must guarantee equal, global access to a COVID-19 vaccine. (Screen shot from Washington Post)

By Lee Hana

President Moon Jae-in and seven other world leaders said in an op-ed published by The Washington Post on July 15 that the world must guarantee equal, global access to a COVID-19 vaccine.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven reportedly set the op-ed in motion, bringing together the heads of state from his nation and Korea as well as Canada, New Zealand, Spain, Ethiopia, South Africa and Tunisia.

The eight leaders agreed that international cooperation was crucial to ensuring a fair and transparent response to the pandemic, Cheong Wa Dae said in a news release.

On vaccine development, the op-ed said, "This cannot be a race with one winner. When one or more vaccines are successful, it must be a win for all of us."

"We cannot allow access to vaccines to increase inequalities within or between countries – whether low-, middle- or high-income."

It added, "We must urgently ensure that vaccines will be distributed according to a set of transparent, equitable and scientifically sound principles. Where you live should not determine whether you live, and global solidarity is central to saving lives and protecting the economy."

"A managed flow of the vaccine —including for humanitarian settings and other vulnerable countries such as the least developed countries and small island developing states— is the wise and strategic course of action and will benefit countries across the world."

The op-ed recognized the World Health Organization as the world's leading health agency and lauded the United Nations for its leadership, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance for its efforts and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations for providing access to vaccine development tools. It also acknowledged the role of the Seoul-based International Vaccine Institute in making vaccines available to and accessible for vulnerable people in developing countries.

The op-ed concluded by urging global leaders "to commit to contributing to an equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, based on the spirit of a greater freedom for all."

Cheong Wa Dae said it believes President Moon co-writing the op-ed would highlight Korea's successful response to the pandemic and its role in the global fight against COVID-19.



President Moon Jae-in on May 14 announces his commitment to fostering venture startups during a meeting with the Next-Generation Global Youth Startup Leaders in Seoul's Gangnam-gu District. (Yonhap News)

By Lee Kyoung Mi and Yoon Sojung

President Moon Jae-in on May 14 said that "We will vigorously push ahead with the K-unicorn project to help domestic startups evolve into global business unicorns."

In a meeting with leading young executives in the startup sector in Seoul's Gangnam-gu District, he said he will continue to carry out policy to support young startup leaders in a bold and speedy manner.

A unicorn company is defined as an unlisted startup valued at USD 1 billion or more.

The meeting was attended by 21 venture and startup entrepreneurs included on the Forbes list of the top Asian entrepreneurs under 30. President Moon held this meeting to encourage them and listen to their difficulties.

He praised startups that played major roles in containing the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) such as Coronamap and Maskmap, as well as those that developed quick diagnostic kits, saying, "We are in difficult circumstances, but we can usher in new opportunities for startups if we prepare properly for the post-COVID-19 era."

"Before growing into global business unicorns, startups must overcome numerous obstacles such as the 'Valley of Death' and the 'Darwinian Sea,'" the president added. "We will identify promising startups and provide them with support packages to help with loans, guarantees and the pioneering of new markets."

"The government will continue to provide support until innovative ideas can be commercialized and stand tall on the world stage."

To help venture startups, he pledged emergency financial support worth KRW 2.2 trillion by year's end, including special low-interest loans.




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President Moon Jae-in on April 23 speaks at the naming ceremony of the HMM Algeciras, the world's largest container vessel, at the Okpo shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering on Geojedo Island, Gyeongsangnam-do Province. 

By Xu Aiying and Yoon Sojung
Photos: Yonhap News

President Moon Jae-in on April 23 pledged to rebuild Korea's shipping industry to raise its ranking to the world's top five.

At the naming ceremony of the world's largest container ship, the HMM (Hyundai Merchant Marine) Algeciras, he said he will push ahead with a five-year plan to achieve this goal.

Four times bigger than a soccer field and able to hold 23,964 containers, the vessel is named after the southern Spanish port city of Algeciras on the Strait of Gibraltar and symbolizes the effort to regain Korea’s competitiveness in the shipping industry.

President Moon highlighted the significance of the ceremony, saying, "With this naming ceremony for the HMM Algeciras today, we herald to the world the rebuilding of the Republic of Korea's shipping industry." He also mentioned the inner strength of the sector in overcoming crises such as the 2017 bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping.

"Within this year, the world's 12 largest container ships, all Korea-made and of the same class as the HMM Algeciras, will start to crisscross the globe," he said. "Just as Admiral Yi Sun-sin helped surmount a national crisis with only 12 vessels some 400 years ago, these 12 super-sized container ships will help revive the stature of our shipping industry."

"Korea's future as a maritime powerhouse can never be relinquished," the president said, adding that he will faithfully implement the five-year plan to rebuild the industry. He also announced large-scale financial support to the sector, including KRW 380 billion in financial assistance to those hit hardest by the pandemic, and plans to develop new businesses within shipping through information and communications technologies.

"Now we have to overcome yet another crisis. We must ride out the waves of the COVID-19-induced economic recession. We will work together with the international community to prevent the collapse of the global supply chain under any circumstances," he added.

20200424_shipping industry_2

President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook on April 23 pose for a group photo at the naming ceremony of the HMM Algeciras at the Okpo shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering on Geojedo Island, Gyeongsangnam-do Province.




President visits biotech firm developing COVID-19 test kits

President Moon Jae-in on March 25 visits a lab at Seegene, one of the producers of Korea's COVID-19 diagnostic reagents and kits. (Yonhap News)

By Lee Hana

President Moon Jae-in on March 25 paid a visit to the labs of Seegene, one of the producers of Korea's COVID-19 diagnostic reagents and kits.

"This is is the source of our globally recognized preventive measures against the coronavirus. The results of our response can be seen in recent figures, with new cases falling and those who've fully recovered growing in number. This was made possible by the rapid development of diagnostic reagents that gave us a head start," he said.

"A large number of these reagents and kits are already being exported to countries around the world, and helping each of their quarantine efforts. I heard that in Seegene's case, around 95% is sent abroad."

He added, "A short while ago, CNN visited this very facility to find out how Korea developed a test kit in three weeks. Other foreign media have been paying close attention to our diagnostic capabilities and swift authorization of diagnostic reagents. Recently, the export of our testing kits has been discussed at the private and government levels, with requests from numerous countries."

During his visit, the president was briefed on the expedited authorization protocol for diagnostic reagents and kits, and pledged his administration's active support for the producers of such kits used in the global fight against COVID-19.



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