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PSPD    People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

  • Civil-Political
  • 2018.05.10
  • 1390

A General Review on the first year of the Moon Jae-in Administration

Assessments on the Implementation of the Key Policy Goals of the Moon Administration


10 May 2018



Without having the transition committee, the Moon Jae-in administration was launched on May 10th, 2017 and announced <The Five-Year Plan> through the Advisory Committee on Planning State Affairs. The administration proposed a national vision “People’s Nation, Righteous Korea” and suggested five goals of governance, 20 national strategies, 100 national tasks and 487 practical tasks. As explained by the government, the first year was a period to work for key tasks our society has to resolve such as eradication of entrenched corruption and constitutional amendment, anti-corruption and reform of powerful institutions, economic democratization and improving relationship between North and South Korea. At the same time, it was the time to make a foundation to implement mid-long term tasks.


The Moon administration deserves special praise in terms of making inter-Korean summit happen in 11 years and drawing a meaningful agreement through <Panmunjom Declaration> to improve relationship between two Koreas and relieve tension on the Korean peninsula. Reflecting the current situation, it is necessary to reconsider overall military deployment and operation plans including THAAD deployment and weapons system which have set up to counter and to retaliate against nuclear missile threats of North Korea. 


The administration has proceeded with constitutional amendment which is a public commitment from the Presidential election, and the president Moon himself proposed a bill. This has sparked public discussions on constitutional amendment including fundamental rights and political reform, the public concept of land ownership and etc. However, it became impossible to proceed with constitutional amendment in June since the opposition party has refused to enact “the National Referendum Act” and disagreed to conduct referendum on constitutional revision and the local election in June at the same time. Progress has been made in respect to setting up a separate agency to discuss eradication of entrenched corruption and reform direction, and measures have been prepared to reform government institutions such as the Prosecution and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). Nevertheless, it has not been properly discussed at the Congress because the opposition objected. Consequently, institutionalizing a separate authority as a part of reforming the Prosecution which will investigate corruptions of high-ranking officials and full revision of the NIS Act have stopped.


There is expected result from so-called ‘Reform on boss-subordinate relationships’ which is meant to protect subcontractors and small businesses in line with economic democratization. However, reforming ‘Chaebol (Korean conglomerates)’ and financial institutions have been stagnated. Active policy execution of the Ministry of Employment and Labor on minimum wage increase and the ‘illegal dispatch by the Paris Baguette’ received positive evaluation but a little improvement was made in creating jobs and establishing social security network. The process of establishing a social service corporation has stopped. Concerning children’s allowance and standard for duty of supporting family, they are partly stepped back and being implemented. It is desirable to increase welfare budget to implement raising basic pension, adoption of children’s allowance and adoption of State’s total care responsibility of dementia and Alzheimer but an active measure to acquire budget hasn’t followed. Discussion on improving taxation policy to lessen wealth inequality has just started.  


The first year of the Moon administration is said to be successful in terms of progress made in the national tasks. However, number of proposed national affairs have fallen in stagnant, a hard situation to proceed and some decisions made from political compromise have been conducted in regressive ways. Constitutional amendment or reforming powerful agencies has headed to a positive direction and led to social discussions but it failed to show tangible results. Although some results were produced in social economy field concerning reform of conglomerates, creating jobs and practical guarantee of labor rights, expanding public infrastructures for better welfare, inequality of wealth and establishment of justice in taxation, it does not meet the public expectations for the ‘candlelight government’. In terms of the peace in Korean peninsula, demonstrating the will itself is a grandeur achievement of the government to take the lead in establishing peace regime and rebuilding relationship between two Koreas by proclamation to end the war through <Panmunjom Declaration> and transition to peace agreement. Upcoming the U.S-North Korean summit holds formidable significance in order to specify the discussion on nuclear-free Korean peninsula and peace regime construction so that Seoul needs to actively mediate and focus on drawing international cooperation.


President Moon Jae-in emphasized the ‘people-centered economy’ and the ‘inclusive welfare state’ while proposing policy blueprints to execute within his terms. This indeed meets the expectations of citizens who made the ‘candlelight revolution’ successful. Yet, the government’s reform measures on the ‘people-centered economy’ and the ‘inclusive welfare state’ have not met the policy objectives. Therefore, the government is highly required to add momentum to the reforms.


The Moon administration needs to double check a roadmap of implementing national tasks and review its strategies in order to be a reformative government based on candle spirit since it lacks of actual outcomes in despite positive evaluation on direction and contents are gained. Although it cannot be denied that ‘legislative environment’ is not favorable to Moon administration owing to the opposition party, the government and the ruling party should not justify for delay of legislations. Having the great support of the people, the government and the ruling party should increase the strength and the speed of reform, and demonstrate its political pressure on making laws. Even though one year has passed, public support towards the administration is very high and it is considered as a proof that the people are advocating the government’s direction on reforms. During the second year of the administration, it shall consistently put efforts on communicating with the disadvantaged people of the society, gathering and listening to opinions from the civil society and trying to confirm expectations and desires of the people.


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