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Finance minister appeals for parliamentary review of extra budget

South Korea's finance minister met with an opposition party politician Monday and asked for cooperation in the parliamentary review of an extra budget bill meant to create jobs.

Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon made the appeal to Lee Yong-ho, the chief policymaker of the People's Party, as he expressed hope that the extra budget could prime the pump to boost South Korea's economy.

Kim is also set to hold two separate meetings with leaders of the two other opposition parties later in the day.

The government submitted a 11.2 trillion won (US$9.8 billion) extra budget earlier this month to the National Assembly, though parliament has yet to review the budget bill due to a political standoff.

The supplementary budget -- the first since President Moon Jae-in took office in May -- is designed to help create jobs and fuel the recent recovery momentum in the economy.

Moon has said the additional government spending, if approved, could create up to 110,000 new jobs, especially for youth.

South Korea's jobless rate stood at 3.6 percent in May, down 0.1 percentage point from the same month last year, according to government data. The unemployment rate for young people, aged between 15 and 29, was 9.3 percent, down from 9.7 percent tallied a year earlier and from April's 11.2 percent. Despite the slight dip, unemployment numbers are still high and could hurt long-term growth.

The government has warned of an unemployment crisis unless the parliament passes the extra budget.

The three opposition parties oppose the bill on the grounds that an extra budget can only be set aside during a serious national crisis, economic recession or mass unemployment.

The ruling Democratic Party holds only 120 seats in the 299-member parliament, far short of the majority needed to pass the extra budget motion. (Yonhap)
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