Moon Jae-in pledges support for Busan’s Gadeok Island

Feb 26, 2021, 08:34 am

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President Moon Jae-in receives salute from students of Korea Maritime and Ocean University located in Busan New Port after visiting the planned site for a new international airport on Gadeok Island on Feb. 25, 2021./ Source: Yonhap News

AsiaToday reporter Lee Jang-won

President Moon Jae-in on Thursday visited the southern port city of Busan and pledged active support for a new airport on Gadeok Island ahead of the mayoral by-election in April. The president inspected the planned airport site and expressed hope for an early legislation of a special bill related to the airport. Observers say his visit is clearly aimed at supporting the ruling Democratic Party (DP), which is concentrating on promoting the new airport on Gadeok Island as one of its pledges for Busan mayoral by-eleciton. The main opposition People Power Party (PPP) claimed that it is clearly meddling in campaigning. 

Shortly after his arrival at Busan, Moon inspected major bases of the Southeastern Mega City, including Gadeok Island, Busan New Port, and Bujeon Train Station, and received a briefing on the megacity project. Presidential spokesperson Kang Min-seok explained that Moon’s Busan visit was set up a long time ago as part of his activity for communication to revitalize the local economy which is not related to the upcoming by-election. However, Moon’s visit accompanied by key members of the ruling party, the administration and Cheong Wa Dae was denounced by the opposition ahead of the upcoming mayoral by-election. 

DP Chairman Lee Nak-yon, DP floor leader Kim Tae-nyeon, K-New Deal Committee Head Lee Kwang-jae, Ulsan Mayor Song Cheol-ho, South Gyeongsang Province Governor Kim Kyoung-soo, and Acting Busan Mayor Lee Byung-jin accompanied Moon. Many political observers claim that the visit is aimed at providing support to the ruling party, which is planning to handle a special bill to construct a new airport on Gadeok Island at the Assembly plenary session on Friday. 

“The government will fully support the southeastern megacity formation strategy,” Moon said. “We will begin with the new airport project in the southeastern region, which has been delayed for 15 years,” the president said. Regarding the special bill for Gadeok Island, Moon expressed hopes for early passage of the bill. “I promise the government will implement the relevant procedures promptly once the bill is passed,” he said. 

Finance and transport ministers, who showed disagreement with the Blue House and the ruling party over construction of a new airport on Gadeok Island and the payment of the 4th disaster relief fund, came up with a government-level support plan for the development of the Southeastern region. Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki and Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Byeon Chang-heum revealed plans for constructing a new airport on Gadeok Island, expanding the Southeastern region’s metropolitan transportation network, establishing a hydrogen economy in the region, and supporting the success of the 2030 Busan World Expo. 

The main opposition PPP complained that the president was intervening in the by-election. “The president must remember that his blatant attempt to influence the election is grounds for impeachment,” Rep. Joo Ho-young of the PPP said Thursday. “We will begin a review of whether the visit is in violation of election laws,” he added.

#Moon Jae-in #Busan #Gadeok Island 
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