South Korea Focus on AI and 5G in "Korean New Deal"

After South Korea’s ruling liberal party won a decisive victory in their April elections, the South Korean government will make artificial intelligence and wireless communications the centerpiece of their “New Deal” to create jobs and boost economic growth once the coronavirus pandemic subsides. 


President Moon Jae-in compared his vision to the New Deal launched by President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s to help the US recover from the Great Depression. He has also been in  bilateral meetings between the EU and South Korean officials enabling the two parties to share policy ideas and form cooperative projects alongside Europe’s “European New Deal.” 


What’s in the plan?: The deal includes a carbon tax, a plan to make South Korea the first nation in east Asia to enact a pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and a focus on renewable energy sources, with a hydrogen strategy. 


As part of its New Deal, South Korea plans to create a fund to support AI development, build sites for robot testing and help businesses launch new services that make use of data, according to the statement. The government will also support construction of a nationwide 5G network, it said. With more details being announced in June, the goal is to enhance South Korea’s economic growth potential and create sustainable jobs for future generations, according to the government.  “The New Deal is essentially an industrial growth strategy with jobs as a priority,” said economist Joseph Han at the Korea Development Institute. “It could be a stepping stone for young people struggling to get more than temporary, short-term employment.”


What they’re saying: Economist Kim Jung-sik at Seoul’s Yonsei University said Moon’s plan was designed to help support newer, Internet-based businesses but probably wouldn’t involve the kind of spending that the term New Deal would seem to imply. “It’s different from the traditional New Deal which seeks massive jobs with massive spending,” he said. “South Korea’s financial ammunition is increasingly limited after a series of spending measures to stimulate the economy.”


What it matters: As one of the first nations hit during the coronavirus pandemic, their democratic and forward-thinking initiation of robust testing proved their leadership was prepared. Now, with their nation emerging from the coronavirus spread, South Korea appears dedicated to providing the same progressive approach to a post-pandemic era. 


With an election in the United States around the corner, our nation needs similar leadership that can catapult us ahead within the 21st century and stand our ground as the global superpower. 


Ask yourself: Will Donald Trump be the forward-thinking leader that this great nation needs to promote innovation and enact change which will impact generations to come? 


For an analysis of the 1930s New Deal in the United States, check this out.