President Moon Jae-in on Thursday urged local governments to step up their own efforts to create more jobs while promising increased support from the central government.
"The people's concerns are growing due to a drop in recent job indicators. Many regions are also facing difficulties from the fallout of restructuring. Creating jobs, especially good jobs, is the current issue facing both the central and local governments," the president said in a meeting with the heads of 17 provincial and metropolitan city governments.
The meeting, held at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, marked the first of its kind since the June 13 local elections, in which the ruling Democratic Party swept 14 out of the 17 gubernatorial and mayoral posts. The meeting marked the third of its kind since Moon took office in May 2018.
"Our political affiliation may be different, and the stage in which we work may be different, but we are partners in managing state affairs, who are required to develop the Republic of Korea," the president told the nationally televised meeting.
Thursday's meeting followed an earlier report from the statistics office that the country added 5,000 new jobs from a year earlier in July, a sharp drop from more than 100,000 new jobs in the previous month and the slowest job growth in nearly two decades.
"We need strong cooperation between the (central) government and local autonomous bodies if the budget on jobs is to lead to actual progress," Moon said. "But such cooperation must be pursued in line with actual conditions."
The president noted the government used to come up with detailed action plans for certain policy objectives, such as job creation, and tell local governments what to do.
From now, each local government will be asked to come up with their own plans that will best fit their own market conditions. The central government will provide its full support, Moon said.
"It is time when we need to change the very paradigm. I believe we must change it to an upward, interactive system where the local governments take the lead, and the (central) government prvoides support," he said.
To promote active communication between the central and local governments, the president will regularly meet local government leaders, at least once every three months, the presidential office said in a press release. (yonhap)