Ruling party chief Hwang Woo-yea called for a rigorous reform of public sector corporations in his New Year's press conference Tuesday, saying many of them are poorly managed and weighed down with debt.
"My party will set up a committee for economic reform, which will have two subcommittees, each tasked with reforming public corporations and regulations."
He also pledged to boost domestic demand and foster the service sector.
Regarding health care policy, Hwang said the party wants to enable hospitals to form for-profit subsidiaries.
He denied that doing so would privatize the health sector.
"The health care policy my party and the government are pushing for would keep the public health care system, centered around the National Health Insurance Service, while allowing hospitals to set up for-profit subsidiaries, such as hotels, restaurants and funeral halls. This will allow hospitals to increase their profits and improve management. Again, this is not a privatization of medical services, nor does it have anything to do with a spike in medical fees."
In line with President Park's emphasis on reunification, Hwang said his party will start laying the groundwork for reunification, including the passage of a North Korea human rights bill.
The existing North Korea human rights bill, first introduced by the Saenuri Party in 2005, stipulates that the South Korean government make rigorous efforts to protect the human rights of the North Korean people, currently a population of roughly 24 million.
But the bill has been stuck in parliament for years due to bipartisan differences over the content.
The Democratic Party chief said on Monday that his party will soon draft a bill aimed at improving the human rights and livelihoods of North Koreans.
"The ruling party chief stressed that his party's number one priority is to reduce social conflict and achieve national unity, saying that those things are key for achieving reunification and bringing the country a per-capita income of 40-thousand U.S. dollars. He also pledged to normalize parliamentary politics and strengthen relations with the opposition party.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News."