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S. Korean president vows to pursue peaceful Korean Peninsula, inclusive society
BY 2018-11-02 07:40:24

SEOUL, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in vowed to pursue a peaceful Korean Peninsula and an inclusive society during his budget speech in the National Assembly Thursday.

Moon said the two Koreas and the United States would achieve the peninsula's complete denuclearization and the settlement of permanent peace based on a firm trust among the three parties.

He noted the trust was being built, citing the inter-Korean summits held three times in 2018 alone and the historic summit in June between the leaders of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States.

South Korea and the DPRK, Moon said, completely eliminated the danger of military conflicts on the peninsula via the comprehensive military agreement which defense chiefs of the two Koreas signed during the latest inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang in September.

To implement the military agreement, the two sides started to stop all hostile acts in border areas along the military demarcation line (MDL) from Thursday.

Moon said the second DPRK-U.S. summit was just around the corner while top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un's return visit to Seoul would be made "soon."

During the Pyongyang summit, the DPRK leader promised to visit the South Korean capital city in the near future. Moon hoped the return visit would happen within this year.

"A historical starting point toward co-prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia is just ahead of us," said Moon who described it as an "opportunity that came like a miracle and should never be missed."

Moon also vowed to make South Korea an "inclusive country where (all people) live well together."

Though South Korea achieved a surprising economic development, it had a long way to go to become the inclusive society, Moon noted.

The country's export was forecast to top 600 billion U.S. dollars for the first time this year as the outbound shipment already surpassed 500 billion dollars for the first 10 months of this year.

As the economy has excessively focused on growth, the income and wealth inequalities got extremely severe in the South Korean society, the president said.

To achieve the sustainable growth by narrowing inequalities and making a fair society, Moon pledged to turn South Korea into a country where people feel at east with social safety nets and welfare programs.

Moon said the first step toward the inclusive country would be the 2019 budget plan worth 470.5 trillion won (422 billion U.S. dollars), up 9.7 percent from this year's fiscal spending. It would be the fastest growth since 2009.

The super-budget was submitted by the Moon government to the National Assembly for review amid the dimming growth outlook for the economy.

The country's central bank revised down this year's growth forecast for the economy in October to 2.7 percent from 2.9 percent estimated three months earlier. It was the lowest in six years.

On the domestic front, the labor market conditions remained bleak, while the local stock market plunged recently. External uncertainties lingered such as trade conflicts among major economies, which would hit hard the South Korean economy that heavily depends on export for growth.

Moon stressed that it was high time for the fiscal spending to play a more active role to reinvigorate the economy, saying the expansionary budget would be spent on creating jobs, helping foster innovative industries and beefing up social safety nets. 

(Editor:Li Zhaoqi) (From:xinhua)
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