Interview: Prospect bright for China's future innovation: S.Korean heavyweight politician

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by Yoo Seungki

SEOUL, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- The prospect is bright for China's future innovation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution era in terms of direction and contents, a South Korean heavyweight politician has said.

"China produced a colossal development via the reform and opening-up policy for the past 40 years and grew into Group of Two (G2)," Gyeonggi Province Governor Lee Jae-myung said in an interview with Xinhua on Tuesday.

China is currently seeking to find a clue to its new growth foundation from innovation, which goes in tandem with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, while making a significant investment into venture companies, Lee noted.

Lee said such an effort was a right direction and looked substantial in contents, which he expected to guarantee China's future development.

The governor made the remarks ahead of the 12th Summer Davos Forum scheduled to be held in Tianjin from Sept. 19 to 20.

Lee, who competed with South Korean President Moon Jae-in for the presidential candidate in the ruling Democratic Party's primary last year, will attend this year's forum that features a theme of "Shaping Innovative Societies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution."

"Prospect is bright" for China's future innovation, said the political big shot who noted that South Korea's prospect would be bright when China's prospect is bright, as China is an important neighbor to his country.

It would be the same as in Northeast Asia as regional economic prosperity can guarantee a reduced security tension, and eventually regional peace, Lee noted.

Innovation, Lee said, plays an important role for coexistence and coprosperity in the region and the world as it can secure better production power and meet the demand of all. Failure to meet the demand can lead to armed conflicts as seen in the past wars.

Lee saw innovation from two perspectives: one is a technological, industrial innovation; the other is the creation of fair economy, which he said is a more urgent issue to tackle in South Korea.

In the past hypergrowth period, innovation meant an increase in total amount of wealth by focusing investment in a small number of companies and specific areas. It resulted in the excessive concentration of wealth in a tiny number of conglomerates, called chaebol here, and land owners, according to Lee.

Excessive profit for a tiny number of people prevented necessary money from being invested in necessary industries. Lee called it the "walkout of money from the economic-cycle arena."

"Under these situations, innovation means eliminating, or at least moderating the excessiveness. It is a government role to increase the share of laborers, support small companies and bolster venture firms. Making an economy work fairly is innovation," said Lee.

Touching on how to deal with side effects from the technological, industrial innovation, Lee said the adoption of a basic income policy would inevitably be a solution to it.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution would trigger an extreme development of technology and an exponential increase of productivity, causing new technologies to replace people for most of the jobs humankind did. Artificial intelligence (AI), big data, intelligent robot, self-driving car and mobile supercomputing have recently developed at a rapid pace.

The dark side of the revolution would be a drop in jobs people can do because of the super-high efficiency of new technologies. Lee said a basic income policy must be introduced to secure a basic livelihood for all humankind.

The excessive profits, Lee said, can be shared by all as all end products and new technologies stem from accumulated culture, knowledge and technology every member of a society has contributed to produce.

Lee was a pioneer in the adoption of a basic income policy which is a regular cash payment to all residents without any condition and any means test. He introduced a basic income for the younger generation, called Youth Dividend, when he was a mayor of Seongnam, a city to the southeast of Seoul. Enditem

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