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Politics/Diplomacy
2008/02/24 16:25 KST
(LEAD) Lee to be sworn in as president Monday

   By Yoo Cheong-mo
SEOUL, Feb. 24 (Yonhap) -- Lee Myung-bak will be sworn in as South Korea's 17th president in a ceremony scheduled to take place in front of the National Assembly in Yeouido, central Seoul, Monday morning.

   Following an hour-long pre-ceremony show that begins at 10 a.m., Lee's inaugural ceremony will proceed in the following order: playing of the national anthem, inaugural oath, performances by military band and honor guard, firing of gun salutes and inaugural address.

   In the address, Lee is expected to unveil his vision to upgrade national development on the basis of the market economy and to spread pragmatic ideals across society.

   He will also emphasize economic revitalization through deregulation and market-friendly reforms, improving people's lives through job creation and educational reform, increasing incentives for foreign investors and streamlining the public sector.

   After delivering the inaugural address for about 30 minutes, Lee will exchange greetings with distinguished domestic and foreign guests and see off the outgoing president, Roh Moo-hyun. Lee will then arrive at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae at around 1 p.m. to hold a string of meetings with visiting foreign heads of state.

   Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and about 180 other foreign dignitaries will attend the inaugural ceremony, along with about 45,000 ordinary guests, including foreign workers and tourists and executives of foreign-invested firms in South Korea.

   Other distinguished foreign guests include Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar, Uzbek President Islam Karimov and Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

   U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will lead Washington's congratulatory delegation, while Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan will represent the Chinese government. Russian Prime Minister Victor Zubkov will also attend the inauguration ceremony. Besides the top-ranking leaders, almost all foreign ambassadors stationed in Seoul will attend the ceremony.

   Ahead of the inaugural ceremony, Lee's presidential tenure will formally begin at midnight Sunday in accordance with the Constitution. Signaling the start of Lee's tenure, 17 civic representatives will ring the Bosingak bell in downtown Seoul 33 times at midnight Sunday.

   Prior to arriving at the venue of the inaugural ceremony, Lee will visit the National Cemetery in central Seoul to pay his respect to those who gave their lives to the country.

   Meanwhile, Lee will hold separate dinner meetings at the National Assembly and Cheong Wa Dae Monday afternoon to meet with domestic and foreign guests. He will also attend a congratulatory South Korea-China-Japan joint concert slated to take place at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Seoul Monday night.

   ycm@yna.co.kr
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