Seoul-President Yoon Suk Yeol visited the southeastern city of Andong on Friday with the aim of promoting the economies and sustainability of local regions.
According to a new release by Yonhap News Agency, the visit took Yoon 192 kilometers southeast of Seoul and was interpreted by some as a maneuver to garner conservative support for the upcoming parliamentary elections in April. The southeastern Gyeongsang provinces, where Andong is located, have traditionally been conservative strongholds.
This perspective gained traction after Yoon's meeting with ousted President Park Geun-hye the previous day. The meeting occurred during a memorial ceremony for Park's late father and conservative icon, President Park Chung-hee.
In Andong, Yoon first met with a group of Confucian scholars at Byeongsan Seowon, a Confucian academy with roots going back to the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and a UNESCO World Heritage site. During the meeting, Yoon reiterated his commitment to bolstering local economies and respecting traditional cultures. He stated his belief that the development of a nation depends on its citizens upholding traditions and fulfilling their individual responsibilities.
Following this, President Yoon presided over the fifth meeting on cooperation between central and local governments. The meeting focused on finding solutions to revive local communities that are suffering due to dwindling populations and the increasing migration to urban centers. Yoon emphasized the necessity for balanced regional development and also called for concerted efforts to bring the 2030 World Expo to the southeastern city of Busan.