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Lee Jae-myung accused of aping Lee Myung-bak's signature economy pledges

Presidential nominee Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (Joint Press Corps)
Presidential nominee Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (Joint Press Corps)
Presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea was accused of mimicking former conservative President Lee Myung-bak’s vision for economic growth of South Korea.

Rep. Sim Sang-jung of the left-wing Justice Party asked during a televised presidential debate Monday if Lee Jae-myung, a liberal, was copying Lee Myung-bak in promising specific figures for target in laying out his economic initiatives even though the two figures have wildly different political ideological backgrounds.

Sim further questioned the plausibility Lee Jae-myung’s goals to grow the nation into the fifth-largest economy in the world while reaching a gross domestic product per capita of $50,000 and raising the Kospi, Korea’s main stock index, to 5,000 points during his term.

"I was surprised to find specific figures mentioned for economic initiatives since Lee Myung-bak government’s '747' initiative," Sim said during her turn to speak for the debate. "I wonder if (Lee Jae-myung’s goals) are vainer than Lee Myung-bak’s."

When Lee Myung-bak of the conservative bloc ran for the presidency in 2007, he promised to have South Korea become the seventh-largest economy in the world by achieving 7 percent annual growth and per-capita GDP of $40,000 during his term.

Lee Jae-myung has consistently asked his vision not be compared with that of Lee Myung-bak, as his vision is more realistic than the former president’s.

Yet under Lee Jae-myung’s vision, South Korea would have to see close to 40 percent growth from the per-capita GDP of $31.489.12 reached in 2020, an increase of around 7 percent a year.

Lee acknowledged in a press event last month that the goal would be difficult to reach during his five-year term, but added he would work to set a foundation for the initiative. He added then the goal was mentioned as a realistic target for South Korea to eventually reach, if helped by his government's efforts during his term.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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