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(LEAD) Park champions 'creative economy' as solution to global economic woes

2014/01/22 21:43

By Joint Press Corps and Chang Jae-soon

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye championed her "creative economy" vision Wednesday as a solution to global economic woes such as low growth, high unemployment and widening inequalities at an annual meeting of global political and business leaders in Switzerland.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye makes a speech at this year's meeint of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos on Jan. 22. (Yonhap)

"Creative economy" refers to Park's trademark growth strategy that calls for boosting the economy by creating new business opportunities, industries and jobs through the fusion of information and communication technology, culture and other realms.

Park believes the existing paradigm of economic growth has reached its limit, as it is unable to address high unemployment and widening economic inequality. She says the world should think up more creative ideas to develop unheard-of industries that can serve as new growth engines.

"The global economy is gradually escaping from the crisis. Yet, countries still experience slow growth. High unemployment is weighing economies down. Income inequality continues to linger," Park said in a keynote speech at the meeting of the World Economic Forum, also known as the Davos Forum.

"We must make growth sustainable. We must make growth inclusive. But piecemeal fixes will not do. Macroeconomic policies or labor policies under existing paradigms alone will not do," she said. "The only way to solve these problems is to creatively innovate our way out."

   Park also outlined key policies her government is seeking in order to realize the creative economy vision, such as a sweeping deregulation drive, the creation of a website aimed at collecting creative ideas and the establishment of a government-civilian task force on the creative economy vision.

Park stressed the importance of entrepreneurship, saying creativity begets innovative ideas and entrepreneurship puts innovation into action. Entrepreneurship is what translates an individual's innovative ideas and creative potential into the courage to start a new business, she said.

Park said that she hopes to see this year's meeting of the Davos Forum to reach what she calls a "Davos Consensus," a belief that entrepreneurship is the driving force behind a sustainable, inclusive growth.

After the speech, Park held a brief question and answer session with Davos Forum founder Klaus Schwab, where she said that unification of the two Koreas would be a blessing not only for Korean people, but for neighbors as well, citing investment opportunities in the communist North.

"I think unification will be a great benefit for neighboring countries," Park said, adding that unification will touch off massive investments in North Korea, mainly infrastructure projects, and revitalize investments in neighboring China and Russia too.

"As unification can provide the Northeast Asia region with a fresh growth engine, I think unification will be a jackpot not only for South Korea, but also for all neighboring countries in Northeast Asia," she said.

Park also said the best way to predict the future is to map out your own future. She added that she is trying to make unification happen by creating the right conditions for a peaceful unification, rather than just sitting by and waiting for it.

Those in attendance at Park's speech included Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. His attendance was a focus of attention because of the possibility of Abe meeting with Park amid badly frayed relations between the two Northeast Asian neighbors.

The Japanese leader was seen listening attentively to the speech in a seat in the far front row and then clapping at the end of a question and answer session that followed the speech. But the two leaders did not meet.

Park arrived in the Swiss ski resort on Tuesday for the Davos Forum session and a series of meetings with the CEOs of global business leaders. Officials said Park plans to use the forum as an investor relations session for the South Korean economy.

Later Tuesday, Park attended a "Korea Night" function for foreign business leaders. She said in a speech that her government is working hard to make South Korea more attractive to foreign investment, including a recent revision of a relevant law.

She also met with Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers and discussed ways to increase cooperation in the "Internet of Everything (IoE)," which refers to a fully connected world where everything comes online. CISCO is a leader in the area.

On Wednesday, Park was to hold one-on-one meetings with the CEOs of Qualcomm, Saudi Aramco and Siemens. The main point of those meetings will also be to ask for more investment in South Korea, officials said.