GK:3.3.2 The Government’s Development Policy

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 Geography of Korea: III. Production and Consumer Space > 3. Industry: Electronics, IT, and Shipbuilding > 2) The Government’s Development Policy

2) The Government’s Development Policy

From the 1970s South Korea’s national development has outcome of government policy, with the Fourth Comprehensive National Territorial Plan now being implemented. In terms of the features of the comprehensive plans for each period, the First Comprehensive National Territorial Plan implemented in the 1970s sought national industrialization and economic growth by adopting a “growth pole” approach, prioritizing for development those regions with high potential for growth and adopting strategies to maximize efficiency. To this end, industrial zones were created in the capital region and the country’s southeastern coastal region and infrastructure was expanded. Though this led to rapid growth, it also increased regional disparities and created serious environmental pollution.

The Second Comprehensive National Territorial Plan sought a compromise between growth pole development and balanced development by adopting a wide-area development approach, seeking to eliminate regional inequalities and disperse the fruits of growth by extending development potential nation-wide. However, by most assessments the plan largely failed to resolve the problem of regional disparities.

Figure 3-13. South Korea’s Comprehensive National Territorial Plans

The Third National Comprehensive Territorial Plan for the 1990s focused on balanced development through development dispersal with a care for the conservation of the national environment. The primary policy goal of strengthening both the national and regional competitiveness through the fostering of regional development, reducing concentration in the capital region, promoting new industrial zones, and the construction of integrated high-speed transport networks, though even at the conclusion of this plan there appeared to be insufficient amelioration of regional disparities

The Fourth National Comprehensive Territorial Plan that commenced in 2000 omitted the vocabulary of development and aimed instead at strengthening national competitiveness and promoting Korea as a “global green nation”—a nation based on sustainable and eco-friendly policies and open to the world. The attempt here is the formation of a national spatial structure with a focus on the notion of 5 + 2 economic regions, promoting hub city regions and through linkages and cooperation with the economic regions with the intention of inducing regional self-sustaining development.

The nature of South Korea’s economy—its dearth of natural resources and concomitant high reliance on foreign imports as well as its focus on the export of industrial production—favored the development of the industry in the coastal regions. But industry was severely maldistributed, with its concentration found in the country’s capital region and the Yeongnam (Gyeongsangbuk-do and Gyeongsangnam-do provinces) region, resulting in the country’s disproportionate developmental growth. The government’s policy for the development of an export-driven economy resulted in its support being concentrated in conglomerates such that there emerged a dual industrial structure, with a large economic gap between the country’s industrial conglomerates and small and medium enterprises.

Figure 3-14. Importance of industry by region and its dual structure
Figure 3-14. Importance of industry by region and its dual structure

Due to the excessive development of industry in the country’s capital region and southeastern coast industrial zone, those areas have experienced an accumulation of disadvantages, such as rising land costs, traffic congestion, and rising logistical costs, while in the case of factories in capital region, a factory location limit system has been implemented. This factory location limit system for the capital region was initiated in order to curb the excessive concentration of manufacturing in the capital region by regulating the expansion of new factories while promoting state-of-the-art industries for location in the capital region with its excellent urban infrastructure, highly educated human capital, and concentration of research facilities. In order to disperse industry and promote balanced regional development, regional industrial complexes have been created, while industrial clusters have been designated and the development of so-called “innovation cities” has been promoted.

Korean version

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