President Park Geun-hye is to offer a special pardon for minor crimes committed by those living in poverty on Lunar New Year’s Day.
Park also plans next year to hold her first in-person news conference since her inauguration to address pressing national issues, her aides said.
The plans were announced on Monday amid simmering political tension over state agencies’ alleged electioneering last year and spreading protests from labor unions and progressive activists.
At Monday’s presidential staff meeting, Park ordered her aides to make preparations for a special pardon as part of the government’s efforts to alleviate the burden felt by the general public.
“(I) think that measures for easing the difficulties for the common people are necessary. Preparations should be made to issue pardons in time for next year’s Seolnal (Lunar New Year),” Park said. Ruling out criminals convicted of corruption, Park said that the scale of the pardon and its beneficiaries should be decided so that “its benefits are felt by the public.”
As for next year’s press conference, Park said that she is considering such an event as a means for informing the public of the key agendas and policy direction of her administration.
“I think a press conference would be a good idea. The chief secretaries should put their heads together to draw up the agenda and the details to put forward to the public,” she said.
Criticisms of Park being uncommunicative recently reached a new peak following the police raid on the headquarters of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.
If carried out, the press conference in the coming year would be Park’s first since taking office on Feb. 25, excluding those she had with foreign leaders after summit meetings.
While facing heavy criticism over her administration’s communication and negotiation skills, Park also called on the country’s labor unions and companies to resolve issues that remain after the Supreme Court’s ordinary wages ruling last week through “grand compromise.”
Saying the ruling that bonuses should count as part of ordinary wages was “meaningful,” Park said that all concerned parties should cooperate in solving remaining problems.
“Labor, management and the government should pool their wisdom to revise pay systems and pay determination practices in a reasonable and future-oriented direction,” she said.
“We should resolve a mountain of labor-management issues ... through grand compromise.”
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com