By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik
Chosun Ilbo editorial on March 10, 2022
President-elect Yoon needs to realize the triple hardships facing the Korean economy.
International oil prices soared as the U.S. decided to ban Russian oil imports as sanctions against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
On March 8 (local time) on the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery traded at $123.70 per barrel, the highest since August 2008.
On the London ICE Futures Exchange, Brent crude rose above $130 a barrel during the day.
Dubai oil, which is widely imported in Korea, also surged to the level of 120 dollars per barrel.
In the international financial markets, pessimistic projections are pouring in that sanctions against Russia will not end in a short period of time and will have a long-term and huge impact on the energy market.
There are even predictions that the international oil price could soar to $175-185 per barrel by the end of this year.
The rise in international oil prices is a fatal blow to the Korean economy, which is highly dependent on foreign energy.
When energy prices rise, prices are under upward pressure in all directions.
As the cost burden increases, the company also shrinks its profits.
The fluctuating wave also affects household income, causing both investment and consumption to contract at the same time.
Such was the case with the oil shocks of the 1970s.
Consumer prices rose by 3% for the first time in 10 years due to expanded money supply amid coronavirus pandemic.
If the current high oil price continues, it is only a matter of time before the inflation rate rises to the 4% level.
Domestic oil prices have already risen every day, the highest in seven and a half years.
Gasoline prices in Seoul and Jeju rose to around 1,900 won per liter.
The nation has survived on strong exports, but if energy import amounts surge due to high oil prices, the trade balance will also deteriorate.
If Russia's default is realized, the damage domestic companies and financial markets will be inflicted on with trade relations with Russia will not be insignificant.
If all these bad news strikes at once, it will not be easy to grow by 3.1% this year, which was initially expected.
As if reflecting the situation in which the international economic environment surrounding Korea is deteriorating day by day, the won exchange rate against the dollar traded at 1237 won on March 8, up 9.9 won from the previous day.
It is the first time in one year and nine months that the exchange rate has risen to 1230.
The nation has barely survived thanks to strong exports, but if this trend continues, there is a growing risk of falling into stagflation, which only makes life difficult for the people due to a surge in prices amid economic stagnation.
Even with dark clouds gathering over the Korean economy, the ruling and opposition parties rushed to pour out only campaign promises to give money.
Now, the new President-elect will have to face the severe reality of the zero clock surrounding the Korean economy right away and devise countermeasures in a hurry.
Joongang Ilbo editorial
Urgent need to transform into a government official rather than an election campaigner. Be the “President of the People,” not the “President of camp.”
About 34,071,400 voters (77.1% of 44,197,692 total) participated in the Presidential election yesterday.
It is the largest in the history of the constitution.
This is a remarkable achievement, with 200,000 to 300,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases daily, nearly 2 million quarantined, and more than 1,000 hospitalized every day.
I applaud the people's struggle to contribute to democracy through the exercise of their sovereignty.
Yoon Suk-yeol, the 20th President-elect, was born in a fierce voice. In fact, it was a quasi-civil war.
The hand-to-hand battles took place to such an extent that the expressions of “the greatest unfavorable election of all time” and “whether it was a great power or a prison” did not sound strange.
It wasn't that I wanted to win because I was good at it, but it was a strategy to win by putting others down.
The mobilization of the camp was so intense that it was even said that if the other party was elected, “There may be a case of holding a candle and breaking a block of the sidewalk” and “He is said to be impeachable.”
What President-elect Yoon desperately needs is a humble reflection on this reality.
The joy of winning is great, but he must not forget the harsh reality.
In order to fill the gap in the conflict, it is necessary to be determined to become the “President of the People” rather than the “President of the camp.”
It can be made through the unity and cooperation promised throughout the election process.
Although there was a President saying “Each and every citizen who did not support me is my people, and I will serve as our people,” but he failed to come out of the camp.
What matters is actions, not words.
Above all else, he must listen to the voices of half of the people who did not support him and reflect their opinions in state affairs.
It would be possible by reducing the power of the President.
Instead of staff specializing in election campaigns, people with state management skills should be hired.
As he has no experience in parliamentary politics, he needs to open his ears more.
Dong-A Ilbo editorial
Integration and the future are the spirit of the new government
The 20th Presidential election has come to an end.
With the vote counting rate exceeding 93% early this morning, People Power Party candidate Yoon Suk-yeol was ahead of Democratic Party candidate Lee Jae-myung by less than 1 percentage point.
If this trend continues, Yoon is likely to win the election with the smallest difference in the number of votes in history.
The strong division of public opinion in the Presidential election was clearly confirmed by the vote percentages of the two candidates. The result was somewhat expected.
During the Presidential election, public opinion on regime change and public opinion on government re-creation clashed head-on.
Various allegations were poured out in which powerful candidates from the ruling and opposition parties were directly involved, such as the Daejangdong controversy and spouse risk.
The polarization of public sentiment was caused by the entanglement of confirmation bias toward the candidate to support and the psychology of hatred toward the opponent.
The variable of unification of opposition candidates has also been realized. These are the reasons why people's sentiments fluctuated until the very end of the election.
It is significant that the Korean people showed off the presence of a sovereign with a voter turnout of over 77% in spite of the harsh criticism of the unprecedented unfavorable Presidential election and the crisis of the COVID-19 outbreak.
As a result, we have a new leader who will be responsible for the next five years. But we can't help but worry about the aftermath of the election.
Reactions to the final result are markedly mixed. The President-elect should start by showing inclusive steps to heal the broken hearts of the people.
The grim reality we face cannot even afford to offer a toast to the winner.
The international security order is rapidly reorganizing from the post-Cold War to a new Cold War.
The challenge of China and Russia to the collapse of US hegemony is beyond imagination and unpredictable.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is taking steps to resume nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests to fill this gap.
On the other hand, ominous signals are accumulating that the ROK-U.S. alliance may be reduced to a 'husk alliance'.
If you only cry for peace, you may be left behind by yourself.
The new government must rework its sophisticated security strategy to counter the order of power.
The global economic order has long been engulfed in a battle for survival.
Countries are engaged in a war of technology, a war to secure a supply chain, at the risk of death. It is the law of jungle itself.
Although it is the world's 10th largest economy, it could be pushed out in the blink of an eye.
The future depends on how to effectively and intensively use limited resources and capabilities such as digital transformation and carbon neutrality by penetrating the flow of the global economy as well as responding to the coronavirus.
This is a time when the new President's insight is desperately needed.
All of this ultimately boils down to a matter of politics.
At the apex is the President. The current government interpreted the candlelight popular sentiment from the narrow perspective of the camp.
They projected their ideology to be right in various policies such as real estate and nuclear power plants.
The big bowl called the country was cracked. The key is to bring together the divided national theories.
Arrogance is forbidden. Tangpyeong (fair) and Hyeopchi (coordination) can create tremendous national energy.
From the appointment of the prime minister, the formation of the cabinet, and the establishment of priorities for government affairs, the elected President must show that he actively respects the opinions of the opposition parties.
The position of the most powerful is loneliness. Surrounded by powerful aides who dig into that psychological gap, it is an instantaneous thing that the passage is blocked.
Like Odysseus in Greek mythology, who tied himself to a pole in order not to fall for the temptation of the siren, he should aim only for the strategic interest of the nation.
Of course, he should always has staff around him who can tell him things he doesn’t want to hear.
He should be able to meet opposition lawmakers or members of the opposite party casually, listen to a variety of raw voices, and reflect them in state affairs.
Demands for the new government will pour in from every sector and interest group.
It was an election that caused major conflicts between classes, ideological conflicts, regional conflicts, generational conflicts, and even gender conflicts.
The new government must start restructuring the industrial structure to respond to the era of the 4th industrial revolution and solve the youth job problem.
The real estate market must be stabilized and the local economy must be revitalized.
There are a lot of difficulties that cannot be enumerated one by one.
There is a lot of work to be done, and time and resources are scarce.
Using the failures of the previous administrations as a teacher of contrast, sometimes he has to change his beliefs and if the key election promises are not fulfilled, he should be able to boldly fold them.
There is no goblin bat that will satisfy everyone. All that matters is choice and concentration, strategic priorities, and persuasion of the people.
When a national leader sets a one-sided and biased standard of right and wrong and conducts state affairs such as “follow me,” it is a path to follow the same path as previous Presidents.
The Cheong Wa Dae, the National Assembly, the Cabinet, and front-line officials should establish a ‘system of government’ in which they discuss and implement state affairs in accordance with laws and procedures at their respective locations.
Impeachment, corruption, camp, and political retaliation are now outdated languages.
The people want a President who puts the national interest first, not a President confined to a specific ideology and camp, who can leave a few great achievements for the younger generation, such as pension reform, even if it encounters resistance from interest groups or supporters right now.
When the new leader shows sincerity toward unity and the future without ever taking over the power of the “king,” more than half of the people who did not support him will gradually begin to open their hearts.
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, 'People's unity' is the top priority
People Power Party candidate Yoon Suk-yeol was elected as the 20th President.
After a blood-drenching battle with Democratic Party candidate Lee Jae-myung, Yoon won the race.
As a result of the ballot count, Yoon's rate of votes was 48.6%, which was 0.8 percentage points ahead of Lee's (47.8%).
The difference in the number of votes is 260,000.
This is the smallest vote difference since the direct Presidential system was revived in 1987.
President-elect Yoon said, "I will cooperate with the opposition and serve the people well"
With the victory of Yoon, the Democratic Party-led government came to an end after five years, and the era of the conservative government began.
After the election was confirmed, Yoon went to the ballot counting room at the National Assembly Library and said, “I learned a lot during the election campaign.
“I learned a lot of things like what he takes to become a leader of the country and how to listen to the people's voices," he said.
He also said, “I would also like to thank candidates Lee Jae-myung and Shim Sang-jung , and I would like to appreciate their value in that we all contributed greatly to the political development of the Republic of Korea.”
Yoon's victory was supported by high public opinion for regime change.
The strong will of the conservatives for regime change put a freshman in politics, who resigned as the prosecutor general just a year ago and entered politics, as the next President.
In addition, the failure of the Moon Jae-in government's real estate policy and the growing disappointment and anger among the people due to the behavior of high-ranking public officials was also the background to Yoon's victory.
Candidate Lee Jae-myung faced off with ‘political change’, but in the end failed to overcome the wave of regime change theory.
The meaning of opposition from half of the people should be deeply engraved
However, the fact that President-elect Yoon won the victory over Lee due to the high public opinion for regime change, but failed to win a majority of the votes despite unification with Ahn Cheol-soo, the People Party candidate.
This is because the people chose Yoon-elect as a 'symbol of regime change', but it can be interpreted that they did not send full trust as to whether he was really ready to lead state affairs.
In fact, throughout the campaign period, President-elect Yoon used a strategy that relied on the hatred of the hardy conservatives toward the Moon Jae-in government rather than winning based on future visions and policy promises.
In particular, it must be painfully accepted that the ‘politics of division’, which seeks to win votes by dividing men and women in 2030, has returned as a collective backlash from women at the last moment.
Yoon should reflect on why more people voted for other candidates than those who supported him in an election that was actually held in a bilateral confrontation.
Under the “winner-take-all” Presidential system, camp conflicts have always existed in every election, but the goal has deepened in this Presidential election.
It is undeniable that the hatred and confrontational psychology that only 'one should prevent becoming the opponent' dominated the election campaign rather than evaluating each candidate's qualifications and abilities.
If such extreme divisions and conflicts continue after the election, it will be a national misfortune.
The responsibility of resolving this problem and moving on to the path of integration is bound to be greater for Yoon, who won the election.
I hope that President-elect Yoon will think deeply about how to fill the hearts of the people who are divided and lost in the election process, and work hard to launch the ‘National Unity Government’ as promised.
Yoon said that he will not retaliate against politics and he has to show it through action
Many people are concerned that if Yoon comes to power, it will become a “republic of the prosecution.”
President-elect Yoon must resolve this clearly. In addition, by declaring that there is no political retaliation, he must relieve the anxiety of half of the people who support President Moon Jae-in and candidate Lee Jae-myung.
This will be the first step for President-elect Yoon to show leadership of unity and cooperation.
During the election campaign, President-elect Yoon announced that he would use aides such as Prosecutor Han Dong-hoon to investigate the Moon Jae-in government.
If elected Yoon calculates that he will take the lead in the political world through planned investigations in the early days of his tenure, it is clear that it will lead to greater division and confrontation than it is now.
The moment he politically targets the former President, who has a high approval rating at the end of his term, the public will split in two and, most importantly, the beginning of his term will be wasted in extreme conflict.
Like the election slogan of “Yun Suk-yeol, raised by the people,” I hope that he will become a President who puts the people at the forefront from beginning to end and walks the path of unity.
Considering the political structure, where the Democratic Party occupies the majority of the seats in the National Assembly, integration and cooperation are not an option but a necessity for the elected Yoon.
There is no other way to lead the government smoothly and stably.
Yoon himself promised to unite with Ahn Cheol-soo at the end of the Presidential election to form a unified government. I hope that he will declare and implement the principle of great unification that encompasses all factions beyond a small union with the People Party.
Another alternative would be to create a government by hiring a wide range of talented people with abilities and morals beyond politics.
Furthermore, efforts should not be spared in formulating an institutional framework for integrated politics, such as reforming the electoral system that will open up the possibility of multi-party coalition politics and constitutional amendments to disperse the President's powers.
The Democratic Party should also faithfully criticize and check, but never use the majority of the National Assembly seats as a means of ‘opposition for opposition’.
Candidate Lee Jae-myung held a press conference at the Yeouido office, saying, “I would like to congratulate Candidate Yoon. I sincerely ask Yoon to open the era of integration and harmony beyond division and conflict.”
Both the ruling and opposition parties should show the image of 'cooperation' in which they cooperate with each other while fearing the people.
President-elect Yoon promised to open the era of the ‘Gwanghwamun Office’ after leaving the Cheong Wa Dae, saying, “As long as there are no safety issues, I would like to sit in the office and directly listen to the voices of the people protesting.”
He also promised to meet reporters once a week without hesitation. We also hope that he will keep the ‘promise of communication’ with the people.
The first national task that President-elect Yoon must solve as President will be overcoming the corona crisis and restoring people's livelihoods.
Until now, it was okay to criticize the government as an opposition candidate, but now, as the chief executive of state affairs, he has to look after and care for the lives of the people himself.
In particular, the self-employed loss compensation promise should be specifically refined and implemented promptly.
The housing price stability and job problems will also have to come up with a fundamental solution beyond symptomatic therapy.
Countermeasures against the rapidly deteriorating economic situation must also be prepared urgently.
The Korean economy, which is already suffering from the proliferation of Omicron, damage to global supply chains, and high inflation, faced unprecedented uncertainty as Russia's invasion of Ukraine added.
The international oil price has surpassed $130 per barrel, raising concerns about a “third oil shock”.
President-elect Yoon made many economic-related promises during the election campaign, but it will not be easy to immediately implement those promises in the current economic environment.
In the soon-to-be-launched transition committee, it is necessary to redefine the weight and priorities of the promises and respond effectively.
The transformational task of our time, represented by the climate crisis, must not be neglected.
In the field of diplomacy and security, where national safety and people's lives depend on it, it is necessary to seek a pragmatic approach that puts the national interest first rather than a schematic ideological approach.
We hope that Yoon will be more careful with the promises of the people with different opinions, such as the abolition of nuclear power plants and the abolition of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.
President-elect Yoon will now lead ‘Korea’ Ship’ for five years from May 9.
In a Presidential system, the success or failure of the President is a key factor in determining the fate of the country and its people.
I hope that President-elect Yoon will keep the Republic of Korea cruising by deeply engraving the wishes of both the people who supported it and the people who did not.