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124 tln won required to fulfill all campaign pledges made to regional govts

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEJONG, July 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is expected to need about 124 trillion won (US$109.5 billion) to fulfill all campaign pledges that President Park Geun-hye made to regional governments during her presidential campaign, a report showed Monday.

President Park, who took office in February, made a total of 105 promises to regional governments during last year's campaign. They include the construction of bridges, railways and other large-scale infrastructure projects outside of metropolitan areas.

In a report earlier submitted to lawmakers, the finance ministry said that the government will need 124 trillion won to deliver on the promises, which is much higher than the earlier-projected 80 trillion won.

Some experts are demanding strict reviews of those projects, some of which they suspect were promised to gain more votes.

The government renewed its commitment to fulfill all of Park's campaign pledges, though it did not specify how to raise the necessary funds.

Of the total, 84 trillion won will be required to launch new projects, while the rest will be needed to continue ongoing projects, the ministry said.

"We should continue any existing businesses, while at the same time push for new projects in accordance with their priorities," Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok told lawmakers.

"We will go ahead even with the projects which lack business feasibility by making adjustments (to their original plans)," he added.

The projection comes after the government unveiled a plan in May detailing on how to secure about 135 trillion won to carry out President Park's major campaign pledges over the next five years.

The plan was focused on cutting down on government expenditures, reducing existing tax benefits and regulating the underground economy, among other things, but did not include how to finance campaign pledges made to regional governments.

The finance ministry is expected to unveil a separate financing plan for those regional campaign promises.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/yonhap-news-agency/130701/124-tln-won-required-fulfill-all-campaign-pledges-made-regio