By Kim Jae-won
The incoming Park Geun-hye government will use national pension funds to support senior citizens to meet one of the President-elect's key campaign pledges.
The scheme, if finalized, could ignite a strong protest from younger generations who are paying relatively higher pension contributions than their older counterparts.
The Hankook Ilbo, the sister paper of The Korea Times, cited a president transition team official as saying that the Park administration has decided to use National Pension Service (NPS) funds to finance the basic pension for senior citizens.
"According to documents of Park's transition team, it will seek to use between 1 trillion won and 2.1 trillion won from the NPS every year from 2014. This means the government wants to use 4 to 8 percent of the pension fund per year," said the report.
The transition team neither confirmed nor denied the report.
"Nothing has been decided on how to finance the basic pension. The transition team will release plans after finalizing its position on the issue later," said the team in a statement.
Young people are generally upset with the proposed plan.
"I don't understand it at all. Why should we pay for senior citizens who did not pay contributions. It is simply ridiculous," said a 39-year-old office worker Kim in Seoul who asked to be identified by his surname only.
Korea adopted the national pension service in 1988, and many of its senior citizens paid no contributions and those who did paid very little compared to the younger generations, according to the welfare ministry.
Critics say that the decision may fuel inter-generational conflicts further which have been deepening since the presidential election in December which showed a drastic divide within the political landscape of the country.