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Reporter : Park Yoon-bae
Wed, February 21, 2024 | 21:07
Big political showdown
The campaign race has started with two political heavyweights declaring their candidacy for Seoul's central district of Jongno in the upcoming April 15 general election. It represents a big match between the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP).
Falling tax revenue
The government's tax revenue fell short of budget spending for the first time in five years in 2019. According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Monday, the administration collected 293.5 trillion won ($247.2 billion) in taxes last year, 1.3 trillion won less than the budget expenditure of 294.8 trillion won. The main reason was the fall of about 7 trillion won in corporate income tax reflecting sluggish business perfomances, bringing an end to four years of robust receipts.
Don't try to tame prosecution
President Moon Jae-in's reform of the prosecution is supposed to prevent the elite law enforcement agency from abusing its investigative authority and guarantee its independence from political power. The ultimate goal is to ensure the rule of law, one of the key pillars of a democracy.
Bipartisanship in economy
Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki said Monday that the government would do everything it could to keep the country's economic growth rate higher than 2.2 percent to 2.3 percent next year. The International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development projected the Korean economy could grow 2.2 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, in 2020.
Don't float reckless idea
A governing Democratic Party of Korea think tank has released a report recommending the replacement of the country's mandatory military service with a volunteer system. The Institute for Democracy said, “A volunteer military system will be the inevitable choice to make our military stronger and better in the face of a demographic cliff.”
Risk of e-cigarettes
There are growing calls warning against the harm caused by electronic cigarettes. The U.S. government has announced plans to ban the sales of flavored e-cigarettes. Walmart, the largest retailer in the United States, has also decided to stop selling vaping products.
Enemies of fair society
President Moon Jae-in promised to create a fair society when he took office in May 2017. He also came up with a motto: “Opportunities are equal, the process is fair, and the outcome is just.”
Voice of conscience
Rallies condemning acts to stoke anti-Korean sentiment are happening in Japan one after another. On Sunday, hundreds of Japanese citizens held a rally in downtown Tokyo to condemn acts inciting hatred against South Korea.
Abe's nationalist ambition
The escalating trade row between South Korea and Japan shows Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks more like U.S. President Donald Trump. It is really dismaying to see Abe emulating Trump in damaging the spirit of free trade and fair competition.
Using Trump's DMZ visit to springboard diplomacy
During President Trump's historic June 30 visit to North Korean soil, it was announced by the White House that talks will begin again within weeks. Trump's impromptu outreach to Kim Jong-un was a bold effort to restart denuclearization talks that broke off abruptly at the Feb. 27 Hanoi summit.
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