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President to meet top business leaders for beer, candid discussions

By Catherine Chung

Published : July 27, 2017 - 10:02

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President Moon Jae-in was set to meet with the country's top business leaders Thursday for beer and frank discussions that may help fine-tune his economic policies, officials at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. with what the officials called a 20-minute beer time.

The rare meeting involving beer comes at a suggestion from the president himself, according to the officials.

This file photo, taken June 29, 2017, shows President Moon Jae-in (R) holding a brief meeting with South Korean businesspeople in Washington during his official visit to the US capital for a summit with US President Donald Trump. (Yonhap) This file photo, taken June 29, 2017, shows President Moon Jae-in (R) holding a brief meeting with South Korean businesspeople in Washington during his official visit to the US capital for a summit with US President Donald Trump. (Yonhap)

"It will mark the first meeting with business leaders since the president's inauguration and will mark an unprecedented meeting that defies all formalities," said Hong Jang-pyo, the chief presidential secretary for economic affairs.

"Unlike ceremonial meetings in the past, there will be no set course of the meetings, no materials to be released, no order in who will speak first and next, and even no time limit," he added.

Currently, the entire meeting is scheduled to last 75 minutes, but the Cheong Wa Dae officials said it may and will be extended for as long as necessary.

Thursday's meeting will involve the top executives from seven leading business groups -- Hyundai Motor, LG, POSCO, Hanwha, Shinsegae, Doosan and CJ -- along with the head of Ottogi, a leading but small food company that has been specially invited for what Cheong Wa Dae officials called its social contributions that include its low ratio of irregular workers in its overall workforce.

Creating good and full-time jobs is a key election pledge of the new president.

Earlier in the week, the new administration announced the direction of its economic policy for the next five years, focusing on more jobs and increased income for laborers.

Moon has promised to create up to 810,000 new jobs in the public sector alone during his single five-year term that ends in May 2022.

His meeting with the top business leaders apparently seeks to discuss how best to achieve such goals.

On Friday, the president will again meet with the chief executives of seven other leading conglomerates here, including Samsung, SK and Lotte groups.

Hong said the president plans to hold talks with "all major economic players," including the labor and small business owners, to listen to their own opinions regarding his plans for Asia's fourth-largest economy. (Yonhap)