(Yonhap) -- South Korea's Prime Minister Chung Hong-won said Monday that the government's deregulation campaign is designed to remove only excessive regulations, not all of them, amid criticism over the possibility of "indiscriminate" deregulation.
President Park Geun-hye has initiated a drive to eliminate non-essential regulations in a bid to reinvigorate Asia's fourth-largest economy. Ministries and agencies have announced their plans to remove regulations after accepting complaints and recommendations from businessmen and workers.
But opposition parties have warned against excessive deregulation.
Some lawmakers referred to regulations that ban companies from building factories in Seoul and the surrounding region. They argued that the ban has played a role in maintaining regional balance across the nation, where one quarter of the entire population of 50 million lives in the capital metropolitan area.
"I can't tell whether the current regulations are bad or good, but regulations should be eased to the extent that they do not hurt balanced regional development," Prime Minister Chung said in a government interpellation session on economic issues.
He said that the government-led deregulation campaign is aimed at eliminating excessive regulations, but not at removing every rule that governs business and social affairs. The lifted or eased regulations will spur fresh investment and create more jobs, he said.
President Park held a televised meeting with government regulators and businesses last month in a move demonstrating her commitment to rooting out regulations she has denounced as South Korea's "archenemy" and "a lump of cancer."
In the meeting, she said she believes deregulation is the only tool without cost that can stimulate the economy and make it "leap forward."