President Yoon Firm on Minimum Increase in Medical School Admissions Amid Standoff

SEOUL - President Yoon Suk Yeol reiterated on Monday that an increase of 2,000 in the medical school admissions quota is the minimum necessary, amid ongoing disputes with the medical community over the proposed expansion. During a nationally televised address from the presidential office, Yoon expressed his willingness to consider more "reasonable and rational" alternatives proposed by the medical community, seeking to alleviate the standoff that has seen little progress towards resolution.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Yoon addressed criticisms that the proposed increase was decided unilaterally without clear plans, emphasizing that the decision followed thorough calculations and extensive discussions with the medical community, including doctors' groups. He highlighted the urgency of the matter, pointing out that it would take a decade for the newly trained doctors to join the workforce, even with the proposed increase.

The controversy has led to significant collective action within the medical community, with approximately 12,000 junior doctors walking off the job since February 20 to protest the government's plans. In solidarity, medical professors have submitted mass resignations, with senior doctors at major hospitals planning to reduce their working hours due to fatigue from the prolonged walkout. Yoon called for a unified proposal from the medical community that includes a clear and scientific basis for any adjustment to the increase, underscoring the government's openness to dialogue.

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