South Korea will reactivate its "crisis management meeting" starting next week as the nation's economy is facing growing external uncertainties stemming from the eurozone debt problems, the top economic policymaker said Wednesday.
This will replace the existing weekly economic policy coordination meeting, which has been in place for months to coordinate economic measures of economy-related ministries, Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan told other policymakers during the meeting.
The move comes after President Lee Myung-bak decided on Monday that he will revive the emergency economic meeting that he had presided over to lead South Korea out of the 2008 global financial crisis.
"In line with the decision by the president to turn into an emergency mode, we will also turn the economic policy coordination meeting into the crisis management meeting from next week," Bahk said.
This would be the first time in 10 months that the government holds such an emergency meeting. South Korea changed the crisis management meeting into a gathering that focuses on economic policy coordination back in Dec. 22 as economic situations were brought under control.
But as the recent eurozone debt problem and stagnant recoveries in advanced nations are raising concerns over a double-dip recession, South Korea's financial markets are on a roller coaster ride, reminding many of the 2008 financial crisis.
"There is a tendency that negative indicators are received just as they are, but positive ones are being called into question," Bahk said. "We are worried that groundless rumors might also make things worse by amplifying the so-called Korea discount phenomenon."
Bahk noted that the global credit appraisers that he met during his visit to Washington last week expressed their trust in South Korea's economic fundamentals, saying that they are stronger than any other country.
The minister added that he will explain the nation's accurate economic and financial situations to the delegation of Fitch Ratings, which currently is here for an annual meeting with senior policymakers and industry experts. Bahk will meet the Fitch officials on Wednesday morning.
Later in the day, Bahk held a luncheon meeting with private sector financial and economic experts in central Seoul to discuss the latest market situation.
During the meeting, he said that the government is well prepared for any upcoming difficulties as it has enhanced its crisis management capacity significantly following crises it suffered in 1997 and 2008.
"As we have successfully weathered crises, the government already has some types of (crisis) response protocols in place," Bahk told the meeting. "We are well aware of what measures should be taken in any circumstance and are ready to take appropriate actions in case we have a situation."
The meeting was the first of its kind after the government recently decided to hold a regular luncheon gathering with private sector experts.
The meeting was also attended by senior officials of the Financial Services Commission and the Bank of Korea along with experts from the private sector, including think tanks and securities firms.