Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki on Monday chairs a meeting of economy-related ministers. (Yonhap)
To shore up the global economy and contain the fallout from COVID-19, South Korea will provide $400 million for health projects in developing countries and postpone the maturity of debts worth $110 million, the country’s fiscal chief said Monday.
Also, to keep up the momentum of the Moon Jae-in administration’s New Southern Policy and New Northern Policy, the government will double the volume of its official development assistance to $7 billion over the next three years.
“In light of the COVID-19 situation, we shall make the best use of the (so-called) K-quarantine model as an asset to advance economic cooperation, to pioneer new markets and to improve the country’s reputation in the international community,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki in a meeting of economy-related ministers.
As the pandemic continues to affect countries around the world, including leading economies, more than 40 countries have asked Korea to share its relatively successful quarantine model and experience of dealing with the virus.
But the chief policymaker pointed to the mounting uncertainties faced by Asia’s fourth-largest economy amid the drastically contracted global trade volume, nose-diving oil prices and dwindling foreign direct investment here.
As of April 20, Korea’s monthly export volume stood at $8 billion, down 26.9 percent from a year earlier, according to the Korea Customs Service.
Key aggravating factors include disrupted cross-border trade, suspended operations of overseas plants, the weakened global value chain and growing levels of nationalism, according to Hong.
“Bracing for a post-coronavirus order, (the government) will enhance its international economic policies for this year, seeking to revitalize overseas infrastructure projects (for Korean firms),” he said.
As part of this comprehensive approach, Seoul will allocate emergency aid worth $400 million for health care initiatives to help developing countries fight the new coronavirus. Also, for 26 low-income debtor nations, Korea will postpone the maturity of debts worth about $110 million.
Addressing the Moon administration’s New Southern Policy and New Northern Policy -- the former underlining stronger ties with Southeast Asian states and the latter with the Eurasian region -- the finance minister vowed to increase the official development assistance budget to $7 billion for the next three years. The amount is more than double that spent over the past three years.
By Bae Hyun-jung (email@example.com