2022 - Year of the Black Tiger (Inimnyeon; 壬寅年) New year’s address
To my beloved citizens of Gyeongsangbuk-do! On behalf of everyone at the Gyeongsangbuk-do Provincial Government, I would like to wish you a happy new year.
2022 is the year of the brave black tiger, or the year of “Imin (壬寅).” The character “Im (壬)” is a symbol of water, while the character “In (寅)” is a symbol of trees. Water gives trees new life. As such, the year “Imin” is a year of hope that brings new life to our lives. Although a new year brings fresh hope for the future, my heart starts falling into a bottomless pit whenever I am reminded of doctors, nurses, and caregivers still fighting to keep us safe and healthy against COVID-19. Also, the hardships our families have been forced to endure keep me wide awake at night. I would like to send everyone across Gyeongsangbuk-do my sincerest support, and I wish you and your family a year full of peace, joy, and most of all, health in 2022. Last year, I took a bus to visit 23 cities and counties across our Province with a singular focus - to stimulate the local economy. My administration worked hard to listen to your feedback, ease social distancing rules to fit our local conditions, and devise strategies aimed at driving the economy upward, all in order to offer some relief from the constant threat of COVID-19. Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of everyone, our Province managed to keep consumption growing by twice the national average for four months, plenty of you have welcomed our local social distancing policies, hailing it as being better than hundreds of billions worth of emergency relief funds. Moreover, last year, my administration reorganized the Province’s governance structure to a “research-oriented administrative system.” In this new system, public officials, universities, and research institutes conducted research together and helped govern our Province. This innovation led to some remarkable achievements - We brought the Apple Academy and R&D center to Gyeongsangbuk-do after a lengthy nationwide bidding process, it became the only administration in the country to earn a Grade-1 rating in terms of internal integrity, we secured KRW 10 trillion in national budget support for the first time in history, and led the country in investments, attracting KRW 10 trillion in 2021. The increase in national support for R&D, combined with the fact that more than 80% of all investments were directed towards bringing high-tech industries, including rechargeable batteries, bio, and energy industries, into our Province, paints a bright future for Gyeongsangbuk-do for the next five to ten years. My fellow Gyeongsangbuk-do citizens! This year, our Province’s slogan is “Local Economy and the Grand Transformation.” A stronger local economy and the transformation of our Province will help pave a smoother, faster way to a better future. As the German philosopher Nietzsche once said, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” My administration will turn crises and hardships into opportunities. With the bravery of a tiger, we will triumph against COVID-19, and focus our efforts on reviving our local economy. To facilitate the transformation of our Province, we plan on devising policies for a new Gyeongsangbuk-do, including the “Airport and Port Economic Zones in the Two-Port Era,” “Industry 4.0 Grand Transformation Project,” and Super-regional Collaboration for a Greater Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do.” I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the citizens of Gyeongsangbuk-do who believed in the power and potential of our Province during these difficult times, and lent their strength to build a better Gyeongsangbuk-do. My administration and I promise to build a stronger Province, a brighter Province, and a prosperous Province in 2022.
In 2022, my administration will focus on the “Local Economy and the Grand Transformation” of our Province. First, we will concentrate the entirety of our political capabilities on revitalizing the economy, which has been pushed to the brink due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19. Second, we will focus on the “Two-Port System,” in other words, our Airport and Port, to create a new growth platform for Gyeongsangbuk-do, and take on bold challenges that will help us lead our economy under Industry 4.0.
First, let’s talk about our local economy.
Historically, Gyeongsangbuk-do has been known for its perseverance and endurance. It simply refuses to give up under any crisis. It overcomes crises and difficulties with a resolute and strong response to the challenges that lie ahead.
The fatigue of the local economy built up during the pandemic, which is now entering its third year, is beyond measurable. But we cannot and must not give up. This year, like last year, my administration will put our local economy first, and govern the Province so that small business owners and self-employed people can get through this unprecedented crisis.
Our priority and mission are to bring back hope to our local economy.
To that end, we will expand projects such as the “Public Delivery App” and “Online Sales Channel Support,” which proved successful in helping the local economy. We will also launch bold new strategies such as the “Digitalization of Traditional Markets” strategy and “Local Business verse” strategy to inject some new life into various parts of our Province.
In particular, during the first half of 2022, my administration will expedite policies in areas that can impact our economy with greater immediacy, including consumption and investments, by 70% to help Gyeongsangbuk-do overcome this economic crisis faster.
Aside from stimulating consumption and investment, I plan on creating a welfare system that sufficiently meets our Province’s needs.
In order to revive our rural regions, we must create an environment that is fantastic to have and raise children. One policy my administration is looking at is the “Health Care Co-payment Support for Mothers and Newborn Babies” policy, which takes care of the health of newborns and their mothers so that childbirth can be a wholly joyful experience. Also, we will implement the “Zero Co-payment for Child Care” policy to reduce the financial burden of child-rearing until every child reaches the age of 12. Together, these two policies will help deliver a “Full Child Care and Support” system tailored to our Province.
Second, let’s take a look at projects aimed at facilitating the “grand transformation” of Gyeongsangbuk-do.
There is an old Korean saying that goes, “To hunt a tiger, you must enter the tiger’s den.” My administration will carry the same bravery and daring spirit into tackling the various tasks ahead as we begin the “grand transformation” of Gyeongsangbuk-do throughout the year.
To that end, we will realign our Province’s industrial structure into a new “Two-port” system, with the new Provincial airport and seaport at the center. Moreover, projects to embrace Industry 4.0 and bring innovation to all fields, including agriculture, culture, tourism, and academia, will be commissioned by my administration.
Our goal is to change the future of the region currently maligned by negative outlooks of population decline and the annihilation of rural communities. We want to create a positive dialogue, and establish a reputation across the country that Gyeongsangbuk-do has the most potential for growth in Korea going forward.
Our promise is to build a robust Gyeongsangbuk-do with a vast future ahead. We sincerely hope you can join us in ushering in this grand transformation for our Province.
To ensure the success of this grand transformation, Daegu-si and Gyeongsangbuk-do will become a new foundation for balanced national development with the “Super-regional Collaboration Project.”
The two governments will establish a special integrated municipal government to govern transportation and tourism. This, hopefully, will give the combined 5.1 million citizens across Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do a preview of a fully integrated municipal government. Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do will also commission new projects in robotics, future mobility, and bio industries, all of which the two regions excel in, to attain a GRDP of KRW 300 trillion by 2040.
Starting in 2022, our agriculture, forestry, and fisheries industries will see some significant changes as well. Policies to turn these traditional industries into tech-driven industries, and policies to support start-ups will turn agriculture, forestry, and fisheries into real growth engines for our Province.
From a national perspective, our agriculture and fisheries industries are key industries that play a crucial role in our national food security - they literally put food on people’s tables. In recent years, however, our agriculture and fisheries industries have been suffering from the effects of an aging population and lack of young labor. It is time to transform agriculture and fisheries into high value-added industries, and develop them into industries that offer a bright future. I plan to accelerate the “smartization” of our agriculture and fisheries industries, which has been a point of emphasis since my administration (7th democratically elected administration) took office, and develop them into profitable industries led by younger generations. To this end, my administration and I will focus on transforming agriculture into a future industry by pushing forward the “Agricultural Techno Park Project” in collaboration with local universities and contributing institutions.
In addition, by establishing an ecosystem of innovation led by academia, Gyeongsangbuk-do will utilize universities as new hubs for regional development.
Some might say local universities are facing a crisis. I disagree. Rather, we have a fantastic opportunity to tap into the potential they have and turn them into incubators of local development. Our Province is home to two special R&D zones for small giants in close proximity to local universities - one in Pohang and Gumi. Also, my administration has continued to support special chemistry departments at universities and nurture talented individuals. This year, we are hoping to establish a new regional innovation platform in which universities, research institutes, and companies can work as a team. This new platform will recruit at least 1,000 promising individuals and keep 75% of them employed within our Province. Furthermore, my administration will invest resources into creating an ecosystem for industry-university cooperation at our special R&D zones for small giants in Pohang and Gumi. Going forward, universities in Gyeongsangbuk-do will as new growth platforms for the region that facilitates R&D, and nurtures start-ups led by young entrepreneurs. Ultimately, each university campus will become its own cutting-edge industrial complex.
In 2022, Gyeongsangbuk-do will continue to prepare for its next leap forward as a global hub of culture and tourism when the new regional airport opens.
Additional ziplines and resorts will be added to existing tourism attractions, while new tourism zones, such as the Cheonbuk District in Gyeongju-si, will be developed from scratch to help establish a self-sufficient tourism industry. Moreover, my administration will spare no effort in our bid to host the 2025 APEC Summit, which could become an excellent opportunity to elevate our Province as a leader in the global MICE industry once our new regional airport is up and running. My administration also promises to develop popular content unique to the Gyeongsangbuk-do region, such as our Hangeul culture, content featuring our rivers, mountains, and the East Sea, or our traditional Hanok architecture.
Another goal of ours is to create buildings with an eye on the future, and make sure they become useful assets when we pass them on to future generations.
With rapid development and urbanization, our Province has its fair share of skyscrapers. Yet, arguably more value can be found in our rare traditional and historical buildings at Yangdong Village and Hahoe Village. Next year, we plan on creating the “Architecture Committee for the Next Millennium” to pool the skills and knowledge of experts in Korea and abroad. The first order of business will be to design public buildings at the new town specifically created for the new Government Complex in a way that can last a thousand years. This will be part of the “Grand Architectural Transformation” of Gyeongsangbuk-do to build structures that can add value to the history of our Province.
On the environmental policy front, we will turn the entire Pan-East Sea region into a next-generation energy industry belt as we welcome the era of carbon neutrality.
My administration has plans to research and develop small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) - the SMR market is expected to grow by KRW 150 trillion each year - and create an industrial complex that exports hydrogen produced using nuclear power. Moreover, we are looking to revitalize existing industrial complexes by renovating and retrofitting facilities for wind energy, and continue testing to commercialize offshore wind power generation technologies as well. Gyeongsangbuk-do will also continue to ask the central government to reconsider its nuclear phase-out policy. By doing so, we want to develop the Pan-East Sea region into the “Future 3-Energy Economic Zone” featuring nuclear power, hydrogen, and wind power plants.
Aside from the next-generation power industry, we hope to bring fresh energy into our manufacturing industry with the “Manufacturing Industry New Renaissance Project.”
Gyeongsangbuk-do’s manufacturing industry was the driving force behind Korea’s industrialization. Although not as robust, it continues to offer a large number of jobs, mostly at its industrial complexes. To stimulate the manufacturing sector, we have chosen semiconductors, batteries, and materials/components as the “Big-3” industries for our Province in 2022. Stronger support will be offered to corporations in these industries so that they can grow into global corporations in the Industry 4.0 era. Moreover, we want to build confidence in rural regions that high-tech industries are not exclusive to industrial complexes. We will renovate 69 agricultural and industrial complexes across Gyeongsangbuk-do to give them a chance to attract high-tech corporations.
Meanwhile, the “New Industrial Hub for Innovation” project will encourage innovation across our entire Province.
Following the success of the “Battery Regulation-Free Zone,” which attracted the largest nationwide investment at KRW 1.6 trillion, the “Industrial Hemp Regulation-Free Zone,” which is attempting to turn hemp into a resource for the bio-industry for the first time in Korea, and the “Smart Green Logistics Regulation-Free Zone,” which is expected to change the paradigm of urban logistics, in 2022, we will add new Regulation-Free Zones to the southern parts of our Province, including Yeongcheon and Gyeongsan, to create new industrial hubs attempting innovations that have never been tried elsewhere.
Furthermore, by establishing the first “Research-centric Medical School” in Korea to help develop the high-tech bio-industry, my administration will strengthen our Province’s R&D capabilities for new drugs and vaccines. By facilitating the “grand transformation” of Gyeongsangbuk-do’s bio-industry, we will turn it into a core industry when our new regional airport opens for business.
With the “Gyeongsangbuk-do Industry 4.0 Grand Transformation Project,” we will make sure to secure a leading position for future industries.
Finally, in addition to the core initiatives outlined above, Gyeongsangbuk-do will launch projects to build an “Airport and Port Economic Zone in the Two-Port Era.”
Our new regional airport will mostly service medium to long-haul international flights, whereas Pohang Airport will be renamed the Pohang-Gyeongju Airport to service quick-turn or short-haul international flights, and Ulleung Airport will become a tourist airport.
To create a new economic zone centering on these three airports, we plan to commission eight core SOC projects, including the double-tracking of the Jungang line. Also, the overall framework that underlines our Province’s potential for growth, in other words, our airports, tourism complexes, and strategies to develop areas near the airports into international cities, will all be heavily updated as well.
Moreover, as for the Pan-East Sea region, we want to upgrade Yeongil Port into an international port and marina capable of serving international cruise ships. By connecting Hupo Port, Ganggu Port, Guryongpo, Gampo, and Ulleung-do, our goal is to create a “Pan-East Sea Port Network” equipped to satisfy both tourism and industry needs. This new Two-port system, featuring our new regional airports and Pan-East Sea Port Network, will as a springboard for our Province that propels us into a new future. We promise to develop the system as a key axis that boosts the growth potential of Gyeongsangbuk-do.
Dear citizens of Gyeongsangbuk-do!
Our Province’s motto this year is “Tiger Energy, Proud Gyeongsangbuk-do.” In the past, our Province used mottos with difficult Chinese characters. This year, however, we have chosen a motto in Korean that is easy to understand and identify with. This is to make sure we can share our philosophies with not only the public officials at our Provincial Government, but also all of our local residents, and work together to bring Gyeongsangbuk-do once again into the limelight.
For the past two years, the pandemic has brought one crisis after another. Your encouragement, caring advice, and support have helped us govern our Province. You steeled our resolve to build a better Gyeongsangbuk-do.
In 2022, inspired by the spirit of a powerful and brave tiger, we want to overcome the obstacles in front of us, and bring bold changes that can transform the world.
Gyeongsangbuk-do has been a source of innovation and growth throughout history. Remembering that pride and spirit, my administration will do its absolute best to build a Gyeongsangbuk-do that can compete with the best in the world. We hope all of you can support us in our journey forward.
Gyeongsangbuk-do’s charge ahead will continue in the new year, the year of the black tiger. Together, let’s create a brave and powerful Province like a roaring tiger!
January 1, 2022 Lee Cheol-WooGovernor, Gyeongsangbuk-do