President Yoon Suk-yeol made three key appointments to the presidential office on Sunday as the administration struggles with a low approval rating.
Posts with new blood include those related to public relations and national security, while a new post is being created despite Yoon’s promise to run a lean office.
Lee Kwan-sup, vice president of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) and former vice minister of trade, was appointed senior presidential secretary for policy planning, a newly established position.
“In terms of people’s livelihood and political agenda, he is the most suitable person to lead the accomplishment of the Yoon Suk-yeol administration’s key national tasks through better communication and understanding between the people, ministries and the presidential office.” the presidential office said in a statement.
Previously, Lee held several other positions in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, including Deputy Minister of Energy and Resources and Deputy Minister of Industrial Policy. He later served as CEO of the state-owned Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power and later resigned from the position in January 2018 in opposition to the Moon Jae-in government’s nuclear phase-out initiative.
Lee received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Seoul National University and a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.
At a Sunday afternoon briefing, presidential chief of staff Kim Dae-ki pointed to Lee’s extensive experience as a traditional bureaucrat overseeing energy and industrial resource policies, saying: “He is considered not only for the ability to plan and coordinate all aspects of state affairs. , but also for its sense in political affairs”.
Kim Eun-hye, a former lawmaker from the People’s Power Party (PPP) and President-elect Yoon’s spokesperson in his transition process, was appointed as the new senior press affairs secretary.
She previously worked as a reporter and presenter at the local network MBC and MBN. Kim was presidential spokesman from 2008 to 2010 during the Lee Myung-bak administration.
Kim recently ran to become governor of Gyeonggi in local elections on June 1, but was defeated by 0.15 percentage points to Democratic Party (DP) candidate Kim Dong-yeon. She resigned her seat as a lawmaker representing Bundang Ward A in Seongnam, Gyeonggi to stand for election.
“We believe he has the best experience in public relations and media,” said presidential chief of staff Kim. “In particular, she has a very deep understanding of the president’s political philosophy from her time as director of public affairs for the campaign committee and spokesperson for the president-elect and was determined to be the right person to communicate properly with the president-elect. people and media.”
He will replace Choi Young-bum, who will in turn assume the role of special adviser on foreign relations.
Lim Jong-deuk, a former chief of staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), was appointed as the new second deputy national security adviser.
He replaces Shin In-ho, who stepped down earlier this month for health reasons.
Lim, a former two-star army general, served as presidential defense secretary during Park Geun-hye’s administration.
“He has held important positions in the Ministry of National Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” said Chief of Staff Kim, and is a “recognized expert in the fields of defense policy and military strategy” who will help to the Yoon government’s security policies. “to strengthen a perfect defense posture and demonstrate its national crisis management capabilities.”
The appointments come amid the president’s low approval rating, in part due to criticism of poor personnel choices.
“It’s true that I have a lot of fears,” Kim Eun-hye said during a press conference on Sunday. “I will work hard as a bridge to convey people’s expectations and wishes with a humble attitude and to properly convey President Yoon Suk-yeol’s political philosophy.”
“It seems that there are many people who regret the Yoon administration, which was launched with high expectations and hopes from the public,” Lee Kwan-sup said. “I did my best for a government that can achieve national unity by upholding fairness and common sense as it was originally established.”
During his campaign, Yoon emphasized shrinking the presidential office and eliminating any unnecessary positions once in office. But presidential officials have also expressed concern about staff shortages to carry out the duties of the presidential office.
With the creation of the senior presidential secretary for policy and planning position, the presidential office will be expanded from the current structure of “two offices and five secretaries” to “two offices and six secretaries”.
BY SARAH KIM [[email protected]]