S Korean President urges focus on economy, peace

S Korean President urges focus on economy, peace

SOUTH KOREA - President Park Geun-hye on Friday urged the country's political, economic and government leaders to do their utmost to help revitalize the still sluggish economy, enhance people's livelihoods and secure peninsular peace.

In a meeting with them to exchange New Year's greetings, Park called on economy chiefs to help create jobs through "sweeping" innovation and investment, and strengthen the country's competitiveness to help create per-capita national income of US$40,000 (S$50,600).

"Social stability and development can be brought about when all core members of state governance including the legislature, judiciary, administration, provincial governments and economic circles do their best in each of their positions," she said during the meeting at Cheong Wa Dae.

The gathering was attended by some 200 people including Rep. Hwang Woo-yea, chairman of the ruling Saenuri Party, and Rep. Kim Han-gil of the main opposition Democratic Party.

It was the first time Park and the leaders of the ruling and opposition parties had met since their Sept. 16 talks on political issues, including the state agencies' alleged election interference.

The president's stepped-up push to revitalize the economy comes as her approval ratings have recently declined.

Online polling agency Realmeter said Monday that public support for Park's management of state affairs was tallied at 48.5 per cent, a decrease of 3.8 percentage points from the previous week. The figure was the lowest since last April.

The pollster said that her ratings dipped after her government mobilized police officers to handle the recent railway workers' strike, which caused disruption in the passenger and cargo transport. Workers agreed to return to work Monday after a record 22-day walkout.

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