President Yoon Suk-yeol on Monday delivered his first policy speech at the National Assembly.
The speech came just six days after Yoon's inauguration, the soonest ever by a South Korean president.
He stressed the urgency to pass the nation's second supplementary budget proposal of the year, worth roughly 46 billion U.S. dollars.
He also stressed the need for bipartisan cooperation to overcome this time of crisis, and highlighted the necessity of efforts to help the people of North Korea who're suffering from COVID-19.
So what will the fate of the budget proposal be? And what political and economic obstacles does the Yoon administration face?
For this we are joined by Cho Hee-kyung, Professor of Law at Hongik University and Yang Jun-sok, Professor of Economics at the Catholic University of Korea online.
Thank you both for coming on.
1.(CHO) So like we said, President Yoon gave his first ever budget speech in front of National Assembly.
Since you’ve heard many other presidents' speeches as well, how did you find it? What was most eye-catching for you?
2. (YANG) What about you, Professor Yang? As an economy expert, how did you see it?
3. (YANG) President Yoon’s budget speech called for the swift passage of the nation’s largest supplementary budget worth 59.4 trillion-won or 46.1 billion dollar extra budget proposal.
For starters can you breakdown the details on what the budget will be spent on?
4. (YANG) And how does the new administration plan to come up with the money? How will this affect South Korea’s fiscal soundness?
5. (CHO) During his speech, Yoon stressed the need for bipartisan cooperation in passing the nation’s second extra budget of the year. How do you think the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea is going react? Do you expect changes to be made?
6. (YANG) President Yoon also made an official announcement to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation on the global supply chain through participation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.
Professor, how does this framework work? And what specific benefits could it bring to the nation’s economy?
7. (CHO) It’s been more than ten days since President Yoon’s pick for Prime Minister, Han Duck-soo’s confirmation hearing ended, but due to opposition from the Democratic Party, the schedule for his plenary session hasn’t been decided and its still uncertain when he'll be able to start running Yoon’s cabinet.
Professor Cho, this is happening as the Prime Minister post needs to be passed at a plenary session. Is this a regular thing that’s happened in the past when the opposition had the majority of seats? And how do you foresee things unfolding?
8. (CHO) So by looking at the confirmation hearings of the new cabinet members and the budget proposal, it seems like the situation of the opposition party having most seats in parliament deals a big blow to the incumbent government.
Do you expect such a situation to continue? And what can the ruling party do in legal terms? Or do they just have to deal with the situation until the parliamentary elections in 2024?
9. (CHO) We are just a few weeks away from the June local and by-elections. And political parties are striving to sway the hearts of the public to vote for their representatives.
But with the majority of seats in parliament taken up by the current opposition DP, how could winning seats in the local elections help the Yoon administration in administering their policies? What can local governments do that doesn’t need parliamentary approval?
Alright, we will have to wrap up our discussion now, thank you both for making time for us.