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According to Yonhap News,
(SEOUL=Yonhap News) President Park Geun-hye vowed Thursday to innovate South Korea's research and development (R&D) system, stressing the country's prowess in science and technology is the key to staying ahead of the competition.
Park made the latest pledge as South Korea is finding itself "sandwiched" between intense competition with advanced countries and challenges by emerging economies that have managed to bridge the technology gap to a considerable extent.
A weaker Japanese yen and China's growing technological advances have been adding to the strain facing South Korean companies, which compete with rivals from these countries in global markets.
"The only way to overcome the pending crisis situation facing our economy and to ensure another take-off is to promote a creative economy based on making use of innovative ideas and new technologies,”the president said in an inaugural meeting of a presidential panel on science and technology.
Seoul's massive investments in science and technology over the past decades have fueled its economic rise from the ashes of the 1950-53 Korean War.
The South Korean government invested 15.3 trillion won (US$13.4 billion) in R&D in 2014, up from 3.8 trillion won in 2000. In comparison, South Korean companies' combined investments jumped from 10 trillion won to 48.4 trillion won during the same period, according to government data.
Park has created the panel to enhance productivity in South Korea's R&D and to make it serve as a control tower to set the country's science and technology policies.
The chief executive said the government should focus on medium- and long-term basic core technologies and areas where private companies are unable to invest in, while businesses, universities and state-funded institutes should concentrate on areas where they can excel.
She also called on officials to drastically reduce unnecessary interventions in R&D and to get rid of red tape to ensure that scientists and researchers can concentrate on their work.
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Source: Yonhap News (May 12, 2016)