The ‘Mega Seoul’ plan announced by the ruling party on the 30th is a megaton policy that affects not only real estate prices and school enrollment in the metropolitan area, but also Seoul’s urban competitiveness. Kim Ki-hyun, leader of the People Power Party, emphasized the need for Gimpo-si, Gyeonggi-do to be incorporated into Seoul, and said that he would push for the incorporation of other cities in the Seoul living area into Seoul as a party line, ‘if the residents want it’. It is interpreted as a winning move to overcome the ‘crisis theory in the metropolitan area’ that has spread due to the defeat of the mayor of Gangseo-gu, Seoul.
The request to include Gimpo in Seoul came as Gyeonggi Governor Kim Dong-yeon, a member of the Democratic Party of Korea, pushed for the establishment of the Northern Gyeonggi Special Self-Governing Province. Governor Kim’s pledge is to turn the cities and counties in northern Gyeonggi Province into autonomous provinces. In response, Gimpo Mayor Kim Byeong-soo, a member of the People Power Party, has argued for Gimpo’s low connectivity with northern Gyeonggi Province and the incorporation of Seoul instead of Gyeonggi Northern Special Self-Governing Province, citing past examples of parts of Gimpo being incorporated into Seoul. In the case of Gimpo, 85% of the population commutes to Seoul, and the fact that it had difficulty consulting with Seoul in the process of establishing public transportation policies such as the subway is also the basis for the claim to be incorporated into Seoul. The ruling party representative gave weight to Gimpo City’s claim, saying it was “desirable.”
In order for Gimpo City to be incorporated into Seoul, Gimpo City must submit an incorporation plan and Gyeonggi Province and Seoul City must agree. Afterwards, when the Ministry of Public Administration and Security submits the ‘Bill on Change of Jurisdiction between Gyeonggi-do and Seoul’ to the National Assembly, the incorporation is decided by the plenary session. However, since the interests of Seoul and Gyeonggi-do are different from the People Power Party, there is also an opinion that if the will of Gimpo citizens is confirmed, a decision to incorporate Seoul will be made through a special law.
If Gimpo’s incorporation into Seoul is promoted, similar demands may arise in other cities in Gyeonggi-do adjacent to Seoul. In the ruling party, Gwangmyeong, Guri, Hanam, and Goyang, which have many commuters from Seoul, are mentioned as candidates. An official from the ruling party said, “The actual incorporation process will be a complicated and tedious process with public hearings, referendums, etc., but if public opinion is created ahead of the general election that ‘Gimpo is likely to become something,’ public opinion in other regions of Gyeonggi Province, adjacent to Seoul, will also be excited.” .
Seoul took on its current form in 1963 during the ‘great expansion’ by absorbing parts of Siheung, Bucheon, Gimpo, Gwangju, and Yangju in Gyeonggi Province. However, Seoul’s area (605㎢) is smaller than other large cities such as London (1572㎢), New York (1214㎢), and Berlin (892㎢). Representative Kim Ki-hyun said on this day, “I think it is desirable to expand the (area) of Seoul in terms of area compared to population,” and “I hope that the economic zone behind the Gangseo and western regions of Seoul will develop and that (Gimpo) will become a resource for Seoul in overseas trade, foreign investment, and tourism.” “You can,” he said. He said, “I also think that the western part of Gimpo could become the second Pangyo if we do well.”
Amid widespread speculation about a crisis in the metropolitan area due to the defeat in the by-election for the head of Gangseo-gu, Seoul, the ruling party is hoping that the Mega Seoul plan will be a breakthrough. Public opinion welcoming the incorporation is high not only among residents of Gimpo but also of other cities adjacent to Seoul. A key official of the ruling party said about Representative Kim Ki-hyun’s announcement on this day, “It is part of the party-led effort to capture public sentiment in the metropolitan area,” and “The policy will continue with the second and third parts먹튀검증.”
It is known that there is a consensus within the government regarding the Mega Seoul plan. According to government officials, President Yoon Seok-yeol is of the strong opinion that Seoul and Busan must be developed into world-class metropolises for Korea to become internationally competitive. If Seoul and Busan, located at either end of the country’s vertical axis, develop, the central region, Gyeongnam/North, and Honam regions will also develop along that axis.
Democratic Party spokesperson Kang Seon-woo called Representative Kim’s comments “a sudden announcement” and said that administrative districts are an issue that must be announced carefully. Another Democratic Party official said, “If places like Gwacheon, Seongnam, and Namyangju all demand the incorporation of Seoul, why would they say no?” He added, “It will only cause chaos while trying to get some votes ahead of the general election.”