Published : 2013-12-26 21:16
Updated : 2013-12-26 21:16
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok reiterated on Thursday that the planned establishment of the state-run Korea Railroad Corp. unit that will be operating a new railway was primarily to improve its services for the people.
In a public statement, the deputy prime minister said the so-called Suseo Korea Train Express subsidiary was intended to spur competition, which would help reduce rail fares for passengers.
“KORAIL has monopolized the country’s rail operations over the last 114 years. Its management has become inefficient and the company’s debt has significantly increased,” Hyun said.
“The set-up of the Suseo KTX is to improve rail services by triggering competition in the public sector.”
Hyun made the statement with Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Suh Seoung-hwan and Health and Welfare Minister Moon Hyung-pyo, after President Park Geun-hye reprimanded her ministers for passively dealing with the rail strike that began early this month.
The finance minister reiterated that that the KORAIL subsidiary, which would run the railway linking Suseo in southern Seoul and Busan on the southeast coast beginning in 2016, was not aimed at privatizing its rail services and operations.
Former administrations also tried to reform the country’s railway operator through privatization, Hyun said.
“They have failed. That is why the incumbent administration has chosen public service efficiency through competition,” he added.
KORAIL CEO Choi Yeon-hye visited Jogyesa Temple, where rail union workers have sought shelter to restart negotiations with hopes to convince them of the government’s position and normalize rail services and operations. Both sides agreed to begin talks on Thursday.
The deputy prime minister also said that the government would ensure that its set of economic measures devised in 2013 would focus on improving people’s lives and boosting job creation especially for women and the youth next year.
It will exert efforts to steer Asia’s fourth-largest economy back to a growth trajectory through its policies promoting economic revitalization, and public welfare and stability in 2014, Hyun said during an economic-related meeting earlier on Thursday.
Korea recorded around 3 percent annual growth in the third quarter of this year for the first time in seven fiscal quarters due to efforts by the people and the private sector, the finance minister noted.
“However, the country is still seeing lackluster private consumption and a lack of jobs for the young and women,” Hyun said.
He added that the government is set to further announce its 2014 economic policy on Friday after fine-tuning it with related government officials, social leaders and academics.