President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Oct. 25, "The country's basic duty is to protect the socially underprivileged, who suffer greater hardship amid economic difficulty.”
In a speech to the National Assembly in Seoul on next year's fiscal budget, he said, "Our government is pushing for fiscal consolidation while pursuing 'welfare for the underprivileged' to strengthen support for both them and the common people."
"Through bipartisan cooperation at the National Assembly, we could securely finalize the supplementary budget in May to support the self-employed and small business owners damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic," he added. "The government's budget proposal after intense deliberation can only be completed if it puts its head together with the National Assembly."
The proposal for the 2023 fiscal budget was 639 trillion won, the first time since 2010 that the figure was lower than that from the year before.
The chief executive said, "We will restructure KRW 24 trillion in spending," adding, "The savings in fiscal resources will go toward protection of the common people and socially underprivileged, economic support led by the private sector, and commitment to public safety and our responsibility as a world-leading nation."
He also emphasized the need to strengthen economic and national security capacities to prepare for the era of economic blocs.
President Yoon said, "To prepare for a supply chain crisis, we will expand investment in resource development abroad and spend KRW 3.2 trillion to stockpile minerals and over KRW 1 trillion to develop human resources and build infrastructure to maintain a wide lead in memory semiconductors."
On national security, he said, "We will build a strong nation that no one can surpass."
The president also pledged support for exports of nuclear facilities and more backing for investment in research and development in future-oriented industries like space aviation, artificial intelligence and advanced biotechnology as well as venture companies and startups.
He mentioned a large hike in official development assistance to KRW 4.5 trillion to fulfill the country's responsibility and role as a global leader.