Briefing Room

2023 Jan. 2

President Yoon stresses 3 major reforms in New Year's speech

President Yoon Suk Yeol on Jan. 2 said that while putting immediate livelihood issues at the forefront, the government must swiftly correct the "evils" that obstruct economic growth and development as well as accelerate normalization. President Yoon that day invited national leading officials to Yeongbingwan, the guesthouse at the former presidential compound of Cheong Wa Dae, where he gave his New Year's address. He said the three major reforms of labor, education and pension are difficult and strenuous but are a path that the government must take as ordered by the people. If the government easily succumbs to the resistance of vested rights, it puts sustainable prosperity at stake, he added. President Yoon said that world history has shown numerous times how crises turn into opportunities that lead to prosperity and big steps forward through determination to face challenges and development of innovation capacity, and asked all of the officials at the meeting to gather their strength and help. In his speech to mark the first day of the Year of Gyemyo (Black Rabbit) according to the Asian zodiac, the chief executive pledged to achieve his three major reforms of labor, education and pension without fail. His speech on Jan. 1 was livestreamed at 10 a.m. in the briefing room on the first floor of the Office of the President in Seoul's Yongsan-gu District. "There is no future for a country that is preoccupied with vested interests and rent-seeking. The Republic of Korea’s future and our future generations’ fate depend upon three major reforms: labor, education and pension. These cannot be delayed any longer," he said. "First of all, we must drive economic growth through labor reforms," he added. "The dual structure of our labor market needs to be improved." "'Rule of law' will provide a way to prevent unnecessary labor disputes and conflicts. With rule of law the value of labor will be rightfully respected." "Higher education is directly related to our nation’s competitiveness. We will boldly transfer relevant authority to local areas and provide them the support needed, so they can link education to their specific industries," the president said. "Without these educational reforms, it will be difficult to accomplish balanced regional development. Moreover, balanced regional development will provide a quick solution for the problem of low birth rates." He added, "Curricula will be diversified, so future generations will be able to receive the types of education they desire, and we will ensure that everyone enjoys equal opportunities." "We will submit a legislative proposal on this reform to the National Assembly after conducting scientific research and investigations on pension finance, collecting public opinions and referring the issue to public discussions in a prompt manner." Toward the end of his speech, President Yoon said he will never lose sight of the mission entrusted to him by the people, and together with our great people, will achieve a new takeoff."

2022 Dec. 28

President Yoon gives top cultural medal to 'Squid Game' actor, director

President Yoon Suk Yeol on Dec. 27 awarded the government's highest cultural medal, the Geumgwan Order of Cultural Merit, to "Squid Game" actor Lee Jung-jae and director Hwang Dong-hyuk at the Office of the President in Seoul's Yongsan-gu District. The order goes to a person of merit in culture and arts. The president put the medal around each honoree's neck and the star on the left side of the chest. During the commemorative photoshoot with high-ranking presidential officials attending including Kim Eun-hye, senior presidential secretary for press affairs, Ahn Sang-hoon, senior presidential secretary for social affairs, and Hwang Seong-un, presidential secretary for culture and sports, the president looked around and said jokingly, "Someone here might be a minister years from now," adding, "Back in the old days, I'd be taking photos with this person." After Hwang and Lee on Sept. 13 accepted their Emmys for "Squid Game," President Yoon sent a congratulatory message saying, "I congratulate you together with the entire nation."

2022 Dec. 26

President Yoon, first lady attend Xmas Mass, worship service

President Yoon Suk Yeol and first lady Kim Keon Hee on Christmas Day attended Christmas Mass and a church worship service. The Office of the President on Dec. 25 said the president and his wife in the morning attended a Christmas Day service at Youngahm Presbyterian Church in Seoul's Seongbuk-gu District. The president attended the church from the first to seventh grade and returned there for the first time in 49 years. He also spent time with his former teachers at Daegwang Elementary School. After the service, the president said, "On Christmas Day, Jesus came to the lowest place on Earth to save the poor and all the weak," adding, "To love one's neighbor and fulfill our responsibilities are the ways to realize the reason Jesus came to this world." On Christmas Eve, the president and his wife attended Christmas Mass at Yakhyeon Catholic Church in Seoul's Jung-gu District. This cathedral started its history as a venue for Catholics to receive religious training while hiding from persecution from the royal court. "According to Jesus, the truth will set you free and that truth is his words," the president said. "The most important of Jesus' sayings is loving one's neighbor like one's own body." "I think that the love and solidarity of our community free all of us and guarantee the peace and prosperity of the community," he added. "As president, I will work harder so that our society can achieve freedom, prosperity and peace based on love, philanthropy and solidarity."

2022 Dec. 23

President Yoon pledges 'strong help' in dialogue with future scientists

President Yoon Suk Yeol and first lady Kim Keon Hee on Dec. 22 congratulated and encouraged recipients of a presidential science scholarship and winners of the International Science Olympiad in a "dialogue with future scientists." The Office of the President said the president and his wife awarded certificates and medals to the scholarship students and commemorative medals and prizes to the Olympiad honorees. In a congratulatory speech, the president said, "The free and convenient lives that we now lead is thanks to senior scientists who never gave up despite numerous trials and errors and ceaselessly pursued their own paths," adding, "Please continue the challenge of pursuing your dreams." "Science develops when freedom and creativity bloom," he added, stressing the importance of freedom of research, fairness of evaluation and proper compensation. President Yoon also announced support for promising human resources in science, saying, "The government will be a stronger supporter of future scientists." The presidential office said the students freely asked the presidential couple about their dreams, ambitions, worries and interests in an informal dialogue.  Attending the event were 140 university freshmen and juniors who received the science scholarship, 44 middle and high school students who won events at the Olympiad, and nine group leaders from the tournament.

2022 Dec. 21

President Yoon hosts talk with youth on 3 major reforms

President Yoon Suk Yeol and first lady Kim Keon Hee on the afternoon of Dec. 20 hosted a discussion with 200 youths on three major reforms of labor, education and pension. The Office of the President that day said that through the roundtable, the president before the year ends sought to greet and thank youths who expressed their opinions on government administration. The event also allowed the president to listen to youth opinions on the three major reforms for future generations and share his ideas on those tasks, the presidential office added. In his greeting, he said, "I decided to run for president last year out of concern that future generations would ultimately lose hope in our society over not receiving proper compensation and fair opportunities due to special interest cartels." "When running public affairs, it is crucial to embrace the thoughts and ideas of youth and allow them to experience how government affairs work," he said, pledging to expand policy toward internships for youth. Participants at the meeting announced the theme "Youth's Role in the Three Major Reforms." President Yoon said, "Of the three, labor reform must be pursued first."He also mentioned his four principles for labor reform as flexibility, fairness, safety and stability. "There is a little over four years left in my term, and I cannot change all of society's problems over that time," the president added. "What is most important is to do our best to achieve the reforms so that they do not regress, and the remainder is for all of you to properly inherit, develop further and complete." On if she was always interested in environmental issues, the first lady said, "Our environment holds the most precious value that humanity must protect regardless of individual ideology or inclination," adding, "No matter which sector you work in, please pay close attention to the environment."