President Yoon Suk Yeol Pledges National Consensus on Pension Reform Amid Criticism Over Lack of Specifics

SEOUL — President Yoon Suk Yeol vowed on Monday to build a national consensus on pension reform, rebutting criticism that the government's recent proposal lacked detail.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the comments were made during a Cabinet meeting convened three days after the government announced a national pension comprehensive management plan. The plan proposed to "gradually" raise the national pension premium rate in response to an aging population but did not include specific figures. This proposal is set for deliberation in the Cabinet meeting before submission to the National Assembly.

Yoon acknowledged that there has been criticism of the plan's vagueness, particularly with the upcoming parliamentary elections in April. He argued that pension reform is too complex an issue to settle by providing mere numbers without a basis or social agreement. The president stated that the previous administration created confusion by offering alternative plans without a commitment to pension reform, whereas his government has taken a meticulous approach.

Yoon elaborated that over 80 meetings with experts, 24 in-depth interviews with various demographic groups, and public opinion surveys have contributed to a robust database for informed decisions. He emphasized his commitment to achieving social consensus on the issue, reiterating his campaign pledge of pursuing pension reform based on bipartisan consensus, scientific data, and public opinion.

In his remarks, Yoon also updated the Cabinet on the outcomes of his recent state visits to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, marking the completion of summit diplomacy with the "Big 3" Middle Eastern nations. He also instructed governmental bodies to maintain close communication with the public to better understand their needs.

The president additionally called for strict legislative action against "jeonse" fraud, which involves landlords withholding large deposits from tenants. Yoon labeled it a "vicious crime" that disproportionately affects the younger generation and called for rigorous prosecution against the perpetrators.

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