President Lee Myung-bak said Monday South Korea's economy is faring well despite the global fiscal crisis, with its national debt at a low level and exports remaining brisk, stressing that excessive concerns won't do any good in overcoming the crisis.
"We have surmounted the previous global financial crisis in the fastest and most successful fashion in the world. I can assure you that the Korean economy is strong enough for our people to have confidence," Lee said in his biweekly radio address.
Lee put forward a list of evidence.
The country's national debt represents 33 percent of its gross domestic product, only a third of the average 98 percent of the members of the rich nations' club of the Organization of the Economic Cooperation and Development, Lee said.
After going through the foreign exchange crisis and financial crisis, South Korea's soundness in the areas of foreign exchange and liabilities has been drastically improved, with various measures now in place to stave off any sudden influx or outflow of capital, Lee said.
Lee also stressed that the current account balance has continuously remained in the black due to strong exports, a result of efforts by local companies to diversify export markets to lessen dependence on exports to advanced countries. Exports to emerging markets now account for 73 percent of total exports, up from 51 percent in 2001, he said.
South Korea's trade volume is expected to reach US$1 trillion this year, he said.
"When it comes to the economy, the psychology of the people also matters, indeed. Some people refer to the recent crisis as a crisis of confidence. In order to overcome this crisis of confidence, we need to have confidence in ourselves," Lee said.
Lee said that the government will closely monitor the domestic and external economic situation, with special emphasis on ensuring fiscal and external financial soundness. The country's emergency economic system was reactivated last week and the government-private sector consultative meetings will be held regularly, he said.
"It would not be desirable for the nation to be overwhelmed by a crisis mentality," Lee said. "On the other hand, we do need to be conscious of the crisis situation, realize the stark reality and get ready to cope with any circumstance. Nevertheless, we should not lose our sense of balance."