The 7th National Debate on “Local Extinction Crisis” was Successfuly Held
- Kim Jin Pyo, Speaker of the National Assembly, stated, “The local crisis is a national crisis, and the National Assembly and central and local governments should explore alternatives together."-
- Presented five major strategies for the local era, including decentralization, education reform, innovative growth, specialized development, and social welfare. -
- Members of the National Assembly, the Minister of the Interior and Safety, governors, scholars, journalists should work together to come up with alternatives.-
On August 30, at 9:00 AM, the Republic of Korea’s National Assembly, under the leadership of Speaker Kim Jin Pyo, successfully held the 7th National Debate at the 1st meeting room of the Member’s Office Building under the theme of “Discussing the Local Crisis and the Role of the National Assembly”
In his opening remarks, Speaker Kim Jin Pyo stated, “The local crisis should be recognized as a national crisis, and the National Assembly, central government, and local governments should work together to find alternatives.” He also emphasized the need to “make efforts for graduates of local universities to find good jobs in local areas and overhaul policies to attract foreign students and support their settlement.”
In his congratulatory remarks, Kim Kyoheung, Chairperson of the National Assembly’s Public Administration and Security Committee, said, “Low birth rates are a problem for the entire Republic of Korea, but population migration to the capital region has a fatal impact on local areas.” “Local areas should become places of hope where young people can achieve personal success,” he added.
Lee Sang-min, Minister of the Interior and Safety, stated, “We need to move away from centralized policies and transition to a system where local governments take a leading role, with the central government supporting them.” He added, “I will strive to realize an era where every part of South Korea is a good place to live.”
Woo Dong-gi, Chairperson of the Local Era Committee, delivered a keynote speech on the theme of “Vision and Strategy for the Local Era.” He emphasized five key strategies for the local era: (1) Substantial decentralization to enhance autonomy; (2) Audacious education reform to nurture talent; (3) Innovative growth to increase employment; (4) Specialized development led by regions; and (5) Tailored living welfare to improve the quality of life. Also, he proposed five key challenges for the local era: (1) Establishing a decentralized national governance system; (2) Promoting industrial activity and investment in local areas; (3) Innovating education and revitalizing local universities; (4) Relocating public institutions in the capital region to local areas; and (5) Promoting local innovation based on intelligence.
During the discussion session moderated by Kim Young-mi, President of the Korean Association for Policy Studies and Professor at Sangmyung University, Lee Cheol-woo, President of the Governors Association of the Republic of Korea and Governor of Gyeongsangbuk-do, diagnosed that the local era cannot be realized within the framework of the central government. He added that to secure autonomy for local areas, the National Assembly has to minimize regulations through legislation, and to create a true local era, bureaucratic authoritarianism in the central government must be overcome.
Kim Yeong-rok, Governor of Jeollanam-do, called for a bold and innovative transfer of authority from the central government to local governments, suggesting that the central government should only handle tasks that local governments cannot and transfer the rest to local governments. He proposed the relocation of large corporations and public institutions to local regions, the expansion of autonomy for local governments when establishing comprehensive plans for the local era, and the creation of a deputy prime minister-level position representing and executing the interests of local governments.
Song Jaeho, Co-Chairperson of the National Assembly’s Balanced Regional Development Forum, emphasized the need to differentiate tasks that the central government, cities and provinces, and cities, counties, and districts should perform and redefine their roles. He called for the swift relocation of the National Assembly to Sejong City to address administrative inefficiency issues and recommended restructuring local administrative efficiency through the conversion of educational facilities, such as kindergartens and primary, middle, and high schools, in the regions.
Park Woo-ryang, Chairperson of the Korea Local Governments Alliance for Sustainable Development and Governor of Sinan-gun, stressed the importance of minimizing regulations when enacting or amending related laws, suggesting that autonomy should be granted to cities and provinces, and cities, counties, and districts through ordinances. He also emphasized the need for an appropriate distribution of authority between cities and provinces and cities, counties, and districts.
Ma Kang-rae, Professor at Chung-Ang University, suggested considering the social costs of imbalanced development. He emphasized the need for strategies such as urban strategies to address the concentration in the metropolitan area, a 'two-track' strategy for small and medium-sized cities and rural areas, and strategies to promote vitality in rural areas through the return of baby boomers to their hometowns.
Huh Won-soon, a head editorial writer at the Korea Economic Daily, mentioned that the relocation of companies to local areas could be more effective in reducing individual income tax for employees than corporate tax reductions. To activate the local population, he proposed the idea of a “1.5 resident registration system” where people could live in other regions on weekends.
The discussion was attended by Kim Young Joo, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Kim Kyoheung, Chairperson of the National Assembly’s Public Administration and Security Committee, and National Assembly members Kwon Insook, Kim Hyungdong, Song Jaeho, Yang Jungsuk, Lee Manhee, and Lee Inseon. From the National Assembly agencies, participants included Lee Kwang-jae, Secretary-General of the National Assembly, Kwon Young-jin, Deputy Legislative Director of the National Assembly, Park Jangho, Deputy Secretary-General of the National Assembly, Lee Myung Woo, Chief Librarian of the National Assembly Library, Cho Euysup, Chief of National Assembly Budget Office, Park Sang-Chul, Chief of the National Assembly Research Service, and Kim Hyeon Kon, President of the National Assembly Futures Institute.
The National Debate, organized and hosted by the National Assembly Secretariat and National Assembly Futures Institute, was broadcast live on the National Assembly TV and its YouTube channel, and the debate materials are available on the National Assembly Futures Institute website.