Park to host lunch for top chaebol chiefs

SEOUL, Aug. 28 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye was to meet with top 10 chaebol chiefs Wednesday in an effort to encourage them to increase investment and hiring to help spur South Korea's slumping economy.

The lunch meeting marked the first time Park has invited the heads of the largest conglomerates to Cheong Wa Dae, and it is seen as an effort to reach out to key economic players who have been wary of Park's "economic democratization" drive centering on reining in their abuse of market power.

Park has repeatedly stressed that she will place top priorities on re-energizing Asia's fourth-largest economy and creating more jobs in the second half of the year. Cooperation from conglomerates, also known as chaebol, is key to such efforts.

The invited conglomerates are Samsung, Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, SK, LG, Lotte, Hyundai Heavy Industries, GS, Hanjin, Hanwha and Doosan. Officials said POSCO was excluded as the planned meeting is for purely private conglomerates.

The business leaders are expected to express their objections to a government-proposed revision of the Commercial Act, which calls for, among other things, limiting the voting power of the largest shareholder to 3 percent when electing an auditor member of the board.

Concerns have grown that South Korea's economy might be falling into a prolonged low growth phase as uncertainty persists at home and abroad. The gross domestic product grew less than 1 percent on-quarter for the eighth straight quarter until this January-March period.

The economy grew 1.1 percent in the second quarter from three months earlier.

The government has worked hard to stimulate the slowing economic recovery by expanding fiscal spending and front-loading its budget. In May, the National Assembly endorsed a 17.3 trillion won (US$15.5 billion) extra budget, weeks after the government drafted the proposal to jump-start the economy.

<All rights reserved by Yonhap News Agency>