North Chungcheong Opposes Sejong City Bill
By Do Je-hae
North Chungcheong Province's strong objection to the status, function and area of Sejong City, the nation's future administrative hub, is expected to cause further delay in the passage of a bill related to the matter.
Representatives of North Chungheong met with members of the National Assembly Public Administration and Security Committee, Thursday, soliciting the exclusion of Cheongwon from Sejong City, currently being constructed in the Yeongi-Gonju area of South Chungcheong Province.
``We simply cannot accept a unilateral move by legislators to include two districts of Cheongwon in the Sejong City area, and we urge the Assembly to withdraw their decision,'' said Governor Chung Woo-taik of North Chungcheong Province, adding that Cheongwon has been a part of the province for over 50 years.
``Our residents should have the right to decide the administrative status of Cheongwon. The matter should be decided through a referendum,'' speaker Lee Dae-won of the Provincial Council said in a statement.
If the National Assembly accepts the call for a referendum, the Sejong City bill is expected to undergo additional revisions prior to the National Assembly's regular session in September.
Under the Local Autonomy Law, a municipality with a population over 150,000 is qualified to apply for city status. Cheongwon's population is 148,800.
Without Buyong and Gangnae, the two districts in question, Cheongwon could not qualify for city status, with the combined population of the two being around 8,000.
A sub-panel of the committee met Wednesday to finalize the details of the bill, with participation from the governing Grand National Party (GNP) and the Liberal Forward Party (LFP), which has strong support in Chungcheong area. The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) boycotted the meeting.
The committee decided to give Sejong City provincial governing status and to establish a prime ministerial committee to oversee additional changes to its functions, pursuant to its population and level of development.