Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Korea: Obama praises S. Korea internet access

The Korea Times

PJ: The Presdent's call for the US to keep up with S. Korea has been met with pride and appreciation from one of the country's great allies.

article printed in its entirety

Obama lauds S. Korea for wider access to Internet

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday called for more investment in building infrastructure to catch up with South Korea and other outperforming countries.

In a message to Congress attached to his budget for the 2012 fiscal year, Obama said the U.S. "lags behind other nations when it comes to the infrastructure of the future," noting that "only 63 percent of American households subscribe to high-speed, broadband Internet compared to 95 percent in South Korea and 77 percent in the Netherlands."

The $3.7 trillion budget for the fiscal year beginning in October features less domestic and defense spending to reduce record budget deficits and encourages investment in research and development, education and transportation.

It is the second time since late last month that Obama discussed South Korea's access to high-speed broadband Internet.

Obama made similar remarks in his nationally televised State of the Union address.

"Our infrastructure used to be the best, but our lead has slipped," he said at the time. "South Korean homes now have greater Internet access than we do. Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports."

The government of South Korea, one of the most densely wired countries in the world, last month revealed ambitious plans to invest heavily in an effort to lead the global mobile communications industry by 2015.

The plan calls for the development of a fourth-generation Long Term Evolution-Advanced system coupled with wireless broadband systems to offer the best mobile communication service.

In the message to Congress, Obama also stressed the need for early ratification of the free-trade agreement with South Korea as a means of creating jobs by doubling exports within five years.

"My administration has moved aggressively to open markets abroad and boost exports of American-made goods and services, signing a new trade agreement with South Korea, the 12th-largest economy in the world," he said. "Last month, I laid out a balanced approach to regulation that is pragmatic, driven by data, and that will protect the health and well-being of the American people and help lay the groundwork for economic growth and job creation."

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said last week that the Obama administration will present the revised Korea FTA to Congress within weeks, hoping Congress will be able to approve it "this spring." (Yonhap)

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