Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance Hyun Oh-seok presided over the 134th Ministerial Meeting on International Economic Affairs on Thursday, July 25. The following is the Deputy Prime Minister’s keynote speech from the meeting:

G20 Finance Ministers’ Meeting and Responding to International Economic Risks

I attended the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting in Moscow last week. At the meeting, the Korean government initiated forging an agreement on “cautiously exiting from unconventional monetary policy and clearly communicating,” as there are a number of economic risks that could negatively affect global economy all at once, including questions regarding the possibility of tapering quantitative easing and concerns regarding weakening real economic indicators in emerging economies.

At the very least, the meeting resulted in securing safety nets in order to reduce market uncertainty. Moving forward, the government will continue to monitor and manage international economic risks through close international cooperation and by taking preemptive action. Like the report jointly released today by policy research institutions titled: ‘Major International Economic Risks in the Second Half and Possible Responses,’ the government also plans to strengthen its monitoring through public-private sector collaboration.

In the second half of 2013, in order to definitively end this cycle of low economic growth and again start making strides forward, each and every ministry will work together and devote all of their energy to improving domestic demand and export conditions

Plans for Comprehensive Arctic Policies

The Earth’s climate and environment are changing as, over the last 40 years, about 40 percent of the North Pole has thawed. However, new sea routes have opened due to the thawing and it is now possible to develop oil and gas fields, and marine resources, which had previously been difficult to access. As a result, the economic value of the arctic region has greatly increased.

We will take advantage of our status as an ‘observer’ country on the Arctic Council to enter new markets and a comprehensive blueprint will be drawn up to accomplish this aim. The government will actively participate in arctic research in order to contribute to humankind’s understanding of the arctic region, and its preservation. We will pioneer new arctic sea routes and actively participate in the development of energy and natural resource development using our knowledge of shipping, ports, and plants.

The Korea-Russia Joint Committee was held this month and Korea and Russia agreed to closely cooperate with each other. I ask that the related ministries work hard to ensure that concrete outcomes are reached regarding arctic policy at the Korea-Russia Leaders’ Summit that will be held later this year.

Plans to Serve 5th Consecutive Term as a Council Member State of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

Korea was ranked 6th in the world for air traffic* and has served as a Council Member State of the ICAO for the last 12 years. The ICAO’s Council Member State elections will be held this October. I ask that the related ministries, led by the Ministry of Land, Agriculture and Transport and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs work together to consolidate support in order to win our 5th term as a Council Member State of the ICAO.

*in the ICAO 2011 Annual Report

2nd Round of Korea-China-Japan FTA Negotiations

The 2nd Round of Korea-China-Japan FTA negotiations will be held in Shanghai next week. The Korea-China-Japan FTA is just one aspect of East Asian economic integration that Korea has participated in, as Korea has participated in both the ongoing Korea-China FTA negotiations and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. These negations hold great meaning, not just for expanding cooperation in the North East Asian region but also for easing political and diplomatic tensions.

There are many areas where Korea can contribute to Korea-China-Japan FTA negations considering the progress that Korea has made on recent Korea-China FTA negotiations. Specifically, as a country situated in between both China and Japan, I believe it is important for Korea to propose an FTA framework that realizes balanced profits for all 3 countries.

It is also necessary for the government to prepare measures for domestic industries that can be hurt by the signing of the Korea-China and Korea-China-Japan FTAs. These measures must not be designed seeking to simply preserve weak sectors but rather must help improve fundamental competiveness.

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