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History of Balanced National Development Initiatives

President Moon Jae-in’s Administration (March 2017 - Present)

Slogan or Goal: “A Nation with Strong Regions. A Well-Balanced Republic of Korea: Developing a Foundation for Autonomous Growth of Regions”

Realizing the Three Values - Decentralization, Inclusiveness and Innovation

  • The Special Act on Balanced National Development amended (March 2018), The Fourth 5-Year Balanced National Development Plan established (Development of Comprehensive Balanced Development Index and graded support, Life-Enhancing SOC projects, regional development investment agreements)
  • The Special Accounts for Regional Development renamed as the Special Accounts for Balanced National Development, Economy Development Accounts to Regional Support Accounts and Life Accounts to Regional Autonomous Accounts
  • Regional innovation systems established (regional innovation council organized and their role as control towers strengthened, regional innovation projects restructured to be led autonomously by regions, consultation through regional innovation support offices and regional innovation support centers)

3 Strategies (People, Space, Industry) and 9 Key Tasks

  • People: Stable and Dignified Lives (Life-Enhancing SOC Projects, Community Care Projects)
  • Space: Lively Spaces Across the Nation (Rural New Vitality Plus Project, Urban Regeneration New Deal Project)
  • Industry: Regional Innovation that Drives Job Creation (Promote regionally specialized industries and leading industries in economic regions, Regional Innovation Cluster Project, Regional Special Industry Plus Project)
  • Government 3-Year Life-Enhancing SOC Expansion Plan (until 2022) (8 Key Policy Plans, KRW 30 trillion from National Funds, KRW 18 trillion from local funds invested)

President Park Geun-Hye Administration (February 2013 - March 2017)

Slogan or Goal: “HOPE Project’: “Pleasant Living Spaces, Workplaces Where There Are Dreams, Fun Places to Rest”

Community infrastructure expanded and regional economies promoted to increase the quality of life.

  • The second 5-Year Regional Development Plan established
  • The Special Accounts for Development of Wide Areas and Regions renamed as the Special Accounts for Regional Development. The accounts restructured to be comprised of Economic Development Accounts and Life Accounts.
  • City and provincial life zone development committees established.

Regional Happy Living Zones and Economic Cooperation Spheres designated and policies for these areas carried out.

  • Regional Happy Living Zones reinvigorated (63 Regional Happy Living Zones comprised of 20 Major Urban Zones, 14 Urban-Rural Integration Zones, 21 Agricultural and Fishing Village Zones, 8 Pilot Capital Area Living Zones, village communities restored, village businesses promoted, Saeddeul Village Project, Regional Autonomous Social Service Investment Project).
  • Specialized Development Projects for cities and provinces (development and investment promotion for leading industries in regions), old industrial complexes remodeled, startups promoted through Creative Economy Innovation Centers (17), Local University Specialization Project (CK) carried out.
  • Regional culture promoted, ecosystems restored (development of cultural cities and villages, development of regional tourism themes)

President Lee Myung-Bak Administration (February 2008 - February 2013)

Slogan or Goal: “Strengthen Global Competitiveness of Regional Economies, Create Regional Economies that Guarantee Quality of Life”

Regional development policy system reformed to create competitiveness regions across the nation.

  • The Committee for Balanced National Development reformed to the Committee for Regional Development, the First 5-Year Regional Development Plan established.
  • The Special Accounts for Balanced National Development changed to Special Accounts for Development of Wide Areas and Regions (similar and redundant projects consolidated and restructured, the Accounts restructured to have Wide Area Development Accounts, Regional Development Accounts, Jeju Development Accounts, comprehensive financial support for regional development projects increased)

Basic Living Zones, Wide Economic Zones, Supra-Economic Zones designated and policies for these areas carried out.

  • Growth potential for the 5+2 Greater Economic Zones expanded (30 Leading Projects carried out, Greater Economic Zone Development Committee established, leading industries in the Greater Economic Zones promoted, workforce for the leading industries trained and produced)
  • Living conditions of the 163 Basic Living Zones improved (Basic Living Zones categorized into Urban Zones, Urban-Rural Integration Zones and Agricultural and Fishing Village Zones and, creative regional projects and community business development projects carried out)
  • 7 Mega-regional Development Zones designated. Comprehensive Development Plan established and implemented
  • Under-developed Areas including Growth Promotion Areas and Special Support-Needed Areas designated and supported.

Participatory Government (February 2003 - February 2008)

Slogan or Goal: “A New Beginning as a Nation through Dynamic, Balanced National Development Driven by Regional Innovation and Autonomous Regionalization”

A balanced national development policy implemented as top priority.

  • Means of and organizations for policy implementation prepared and utilized across the nation.
  • The central government establishes a 5-year balanced national development plan, 5-year regional innovative development plans established and implemented by cities and provinces.
  • The Special Act on Balanced National Development enacted, the Special Accounts for Balanced National Development established.
  • The Balanced National Development Committee and City/Do regional innovation councils established.

Strived to strengthen national competitiveness and achieve balanced regional development across the nation (established foundations for innovation-driven development, established foundations for self-sufficiency in under-developed areas. promoted qualitative development of the capital area, established a network-like land structure)

  • Promoted strategic regional industries, Local University Innovative Capability Strengthening Project (NURI), “5 days in the city, 2 days in a rural area” Policy, New Vital Region Project.
  • Tried to develop innovative and business cities.
  • Tried to relocate public organizations to other regions.

Repaired state-funded projects to accelerate regionalization and balanced national development.

  • Restructured 533 projects and KRW 12.7 trillion worth of state-funded projects into Regionally Allocated Projects, Special Balanced National Development Accounts Projects and State-Funded Retention Projects.
  • Established Development Account, Innovation Account and Jeju Account within the Special Accounts for Balanced National Development

Before 2000s

1960s: The Era of Rising Regional Issues

  • Rapid increase in Seoul population due to industrialization and urbanization (1960 9.8% → 1970 17.6%)
  • 1963. 「Act on the National Land and Construction Plan」 and 「Act on the Special Measures for Comprehensive Development of Specific Areas」 enacted.
  • 1964. The Scheme for Controlling Population Concentration in the Metropolitan Areas announced.

1970s: The Era of Worsening of Regional Issues

  • Industrialization in the capital area and southeast coastal region, widening of gaps in terms of population, economic power and living conditions between regions, decline in population of non-capital areas.
  • The First Comprehensive National Land Development Plan (1972- 1981)
    Purpose of Establishment: To develop national land from developing key hubs across the nation
  • Saemaul Movement and Small Town Development Project implemented.

1980s: The Era of the Discovery of Balanced Regional Development Policy

  • 1980. Seoul and Busan’s population accounts for 30.8% of the total population.
  • The 5-Year Socioeconomic Development Plan, the Second Comprehensive National Land Development Plan and the First Seoul Metropolitan Area Readjustment Plan established.
  • National funds focused primarily on the capital area because of the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games (→ The Executive Office for Balanced Regional Development established in 1989. The Office ceases to operate in March 1990)

1990s: The Era of the Formulation of Balanced Regional Development Policy

  • Rising importance of balanced regional development policy. The country established policy foundations.
  • The 5-Year New Economic Development Plan, the Third Comprehensive National Land Development Plan and the Second Seoul Metropolitan Area Readjustment Plan established. The ‘Act on Balanced Regional Development and Promotion for Local Small and Medium Enterprises’ enacted (1994), the Local Grant System introduced (1991) and Industrial Promotion Project carried out in 4 areas.
  • Government policies focused on strengthening national competitiveness, The foreign exchange crisis in 1997 put the brakes on the balanced national development policy.
  • The share of the population of Seoul Metropolitan Area in total population rises from 42.8% in 1990 to 46.3% in 2000.