Moon urges parliament’s support for economic recovery, denuclearization

SEOUL, Sept. 3 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in urged the parliament on Monday to help the government revitalize the economy and denuclearize North Korea, calling for swift legislation of related government bills.

"The people expect the National Assembly to help revitalize the economy and their livelihood. I wish for sincere joint efforts, at least when it comes to the people's livelihood and the economy," the president said while meeting with his top aides at his office Cheong Wa Dae.

Moon's remarks came as the parliament opened a regular session that will run 100 days.

The president stressed the need to quickly legislate economy-related bills.

"The people are disappointed because the laws designed to support small and self-employed businesses and those related to deregulation that will help revamp our economy are not being processed," he insisted. "Good policies or systems can succeed only when they are implemented before it is too late."

The call comes amid a continuing dispute over a steep rise in the minimum wage that many believe is forcing local firms to cut their jobs due to increased costs.

The country's minimum wage spiked 16.4 percent on-year to 7,530 won (US$6.75) per hour at the start of this year. It is again set to jump 10.9 percent to 8,350 won per hour next year.

"I believe the ruling and opposition parties both agree that jobs, polarization, low birth-rate and aging population are the most urgent issues currently facing our society," Moon said.

"An active role for government spending is more needed than ever," he added.

The government has proposed a 9.7 percent increase in its annual spending to 470.5 trillion won in 2019, which, if approved by the parliament, will be the highest level in the country's history.

Moon also asked the parliament to ratify the agreement reached at his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, held in the border village of Panmunjom on April 27, in which the leaders of the divided Koreas vowed efforts denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and establish permanent peace.

"Right now, it is a very important period in establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula. The government is carefully reviewing and maintaining conditions surrounding the Korean Peninsula because establishing peace on the peninsula goes together with complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," he said.

"I hope the National Assembly will lend its support for the government's such efforts. Should the National Assembly provide bipartisan support for the Panmunjom declaration, it would be of great help in promoting peace on the Korean Peninsula," he said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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