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South Korean Says Economic Crisis Nearly Over

Mon., Dec. 15, 1997

South Korea’s finance minister insisted Sunday his country is abiding fully by conditions set by the International Monetary Fund and is ahead of schedule in tackling its economic crisis.

Meanwhile, the three leading candidates in Thursday’s presidential elections met in their last televised debate and blamed one another for the financial turmoil.

The IMF granted South Korea a world-record $57 billion bailout on Dec. 3 under stringent conditions, which include slashing government spending, curbing economic growth, clearing up insolvent financial institutions and raising taxes.

Investors have worried that South Korea would not follow through after two presidential candidates called the deal too harsh and said they would renegotiate it. They later reversed their positions, and in Sunday’s debate, all three were committed to the deal.

“I would say the financial crisis will be over soon,” Finance Minister Lim Changuel told KBS-TV.

“The IMF has no reservations about our pledge to implement its conditions,” said Lim, who spoke with IMF chief Michel Camdessus on Friday. “Things are moving on schedule - some ahead of schedule.”

Tags: economy

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