President Moon Jae-in (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in cited issues surrounding real estate as the most regrettable during his term in a live conversation with the public Sunday night.
During a live talk with around 300 people attending for over 1 1/2 hours, Moon answered questions on the response to the pandemic, people's livelihoods and post-pandemic tasks.
Moon said, "The most regrettable thing is that we did not give enough opportunities for people who don’t own homes, ordinary people and young people and newlyweds to buy homes, bringing a lot of deprivation to the public and failing to stabilize real estate prices.”
He said the government is aiming for a downtrend in prices in the final months of his term.
"The government may not have time to make up for the real estate problem, but we will certainly find a clue to the solution until the end of our term so that difficulties don't go over to the next government,” he said.
“Looking back, I think it would have been better if we put more effort into supplying real estate, especially housing.”
He said there have been many problems related to real estate recently. The government is intensively reviewing unearned income, measures to recover excess profits and various measures to prevent private companies from enjoying excessive profits, Moon said.
On the issue of a proposed disaster support fund, Moon said he trusts the Cabinet’s judgment, but hinted that the funds are unlikely to be doled out to everyone.
When a questioner said the government should help the people in need first instead of providing funds to everyone, Moon agreed and said, “The government's position is going in the direction you mentioned.”
Asked if realistic compensation for self-employed people harmed by the pandemic is possible, he said, "The government has organized and supported supplementary budgets several times to compensate for the losses of self-employed people, but I know they still feel it is not enough."
“The government will make efforts to make as much practical compensation as possible,” Moon added.
He believes legal compensation will be made in the future, as the Loss Guarantee Act has been enacted.
“We are the first country in the world to legalize loss compensation. We will do our best to provide a lot of support to the tourism and culture and arts industries excluded from compensation for losses.”
Moon also said that if increases in COVID-19 daily confirmed cases continue, there should be emergency measures, a halt in the stage of recovery of daily quarantine or toughened social distancing measures.
He said, "It's not the number of confirmed cases, but the question of whether our medical system can handle the increased number of confirmed cases and critical patients."
Hospital rooms and medical personnel must be secured, and if that part is resolved, daily recovery will continue as planned, he said.
The president said the government has signed a prepurchase contract for 400,000 patients for an oral COVID-19 treatment developed overseas, which is to arrive in February next year at the latest.