Sejong City Saga Enters New Phase

      January 12, 2010 10:57

      The government on Monday announced a new plan for Sejong City, officially scrapping the original scheme to move 13 ministries and government agencies to the new city in South Chungcheong Province.

      The new plan envisages making the city a business hub focusing on education and science by building an international science-business center and luring plants of the Samsung and Hanwha groups and new campuses of Korea University and KAIST there.

      Prime Minister Chung Un-chan announced the plan in a press conference at the Central Government Complex in Seoul. "The offices of the government, the control tower that formulates the country's future strategies and manages crisis situations, cannot be separated, because it would lead to administrative inefficiency and problems with the reorganization of the capital after reunification," he said.

      With that, the original plan for Sejong City, which was worked out in 2005 when former president Roh Moo-hyun's campaign promise to relocate the capital as a whole failed, is now dead and buried. The government plans to submit a revision to a related special law to the National Assembly soon.

      The plan is to invest W16.5 trillion (US$1=W1,121) -- W3.5 trillion for the construction of a science hub as part of President Lee Myung-bak's campaign promises; W4.5 trillion in private investment by business conglomerates, such as Samsung, Hanwha, Woongjin, Lotte and Austrian solar energy developer SSF; and W8.5 trillion from the government coffers.

      The government said Korea University and KAIST agreed to build a new campus each, while adding it will continue trying to persuade Seoul National University to set up a new campus there.

      Quoting analysis by the Korea Development Institute, the government said that the economic effects of building an education-science hub under the new plan amounts to W800 billion-W4.64 trillion per year, roughly 10 times as much as  the original administrative city plan (W90 billion-W450 billion). The effects on regional development under the new plan will also be 2.8 to three times as high as under the original plan, the government claimed.

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