He said the government’s goal in the new year is to get people’s lives back to normal and transform South Korea into a leading nation by overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Moon also highlighted the need for cooperation between the two Koreas, stressing that he’ll make efforts to resume dialogue.
For more, we have our presidential office correspondent Kim Min-ji.
Min-ji, help us digest the speech.
Mark, the 30 minute speech can be summed up as recovery, inclusiveness and taking a leap forward.
President Moon Jae-in said we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel adding that this year we’ll be able to get our lives back to normal and see economic recovery.
For starters, he said that the country will be providing COVID-19 vaccinations, free of charge, for all citizens, starting next month.
The government, together with the public, will do its best to swiftly end the third wave. We will be able to start vaccinations next month. In accordance with priority, we will make sure all citizens are inoculated, free of charge.
The president also noted that a third batch of emergency relief payments will be handed out starting Monday to help businesses that have faced restrictions due to the pandemic.
Moon added that the government will be stepping up investment and creating jobs to help support the economy through its Korean New Deal initiative.
He also apologized to those facing difficulties due to soaring home prices, saying that the government will be drawing up a range of measures to boost housing supply.
Min-ji, I understand President Moon also had a fair bit to say on North Korea. He expressed his determination for dialogue at any time and in any format?
Yes, Moon said that the two Koreas need to prove that peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula will benefit the international community.
To that end, Moon said that he is ready to talk with North Korea anytime, anywhere.
The key driving force of the peace process on the Korean Peninsula is dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation. There is no change in our determination for dialogue anytime and anywhere, even through non-face-to-face methods.
The president vowed to work with the incoming Biden administration to make efforts for a transition for dialogue between North Korea and the U.S. as well as between the two Koreas.
And especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, he expressed hope for cooperation in healthcare and virus prevention.
But time is of the essence for Moon to achieve his goals given that he has just over a year left in office.
That’s all I have for now, back to you Mark.