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Pres. Moon should address ‘impasse in personnel affairs’

Pres. Moon should address ‘impasse in personnel affairs’

Posted June. 12, 2017 07:19,   

Updated June. 12, 2017 07:26


President Moon Jae-in nominated former Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education Superintendent Kim Sang-kon as Education Minister and deputy prime minister, Seoul National University emeritus professor Ahn Kyong-hwan as Justice Minister, former Navy Chief of General Staff Song Young-moo as Defense Minister, and former presidential secretary for sustainable development Kim Eun-kyung as Employment and Labor Minister, and Korea University Graduate School of Labor Studies professor Cho Dae-yeop as Labor Minster, respectively on Sunday. The nominees are generally liberal figures who had relationship with the Roh Moo-hyun administration or who helped develop policies at President Moon’s election camp. While Deputy Prime Minister for Economy Kim Dong-yun and Foreign Affairs Minister-nominee Kang Kyung-wha were "discovered figures" who came as a surprise, four incumbent lawmakers of the ruling Minjoo Party as nominees for regional balance, the latest nominations are considered thought-sharing nominees who will spearhead reform in various fields including education, prosecution and national defense, which the new administration is pushing for.

Nominee Kim Sang-kon, who served as co-chairman for Moon’s election preparatory committee, is a representative progressive figure who pushed for free school meals and student human rights ordinance while serving in the first and second terms of elected Gyeonggi education superintendent. He ran for Gyeonggi governor and lawmaker but failed, before unsuccessfully running in election for the Minjoo Party chairman. Ahn Kyong-hwan is also a liberal scholar and authority in human rights issues. Watchers say that Ahn is relatively moderate and reasonable, but he resigned as the head of the National Human Rights Commission while criticizing the then Lee Myung-bak administration’s commitment to human rights protection in 2009. These nominees are all close with Cho Kuk, senior presidential secretary for civil affairs. Cho served as innovation committee member when Kim was serving as the Minjoo Party’s innovation committee chair and a human rights committee member during Ahn’s term as Human Rights Commission chief, respectively.

Song Young-moo served as the chair of the special committee on defense and national security at President Moon’s election camp. During the Roh Moo-hyun administration, he was involved in national defense reform and proposed transfer of wartime operational control from the U.S. while serving as the chief of strategic planning team at the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Notably, the former Navy Chief of General Staff has been singled out a Defense Minister candidate who is considered to be capable of reforming the current Army-centered national defense system since early on. Kim Eun-kyung is former civic activist who served as presidential secretary for sustainable development during the Roh administration. Cho Dae-yeop is former vice chief of Moon’s think thank "Policy Space, People’s Growth," and a pro-labor figure who is close with the Korean Federation of Trade Unions.

The minister-nominees who were announced on Sunday are those who took the lead in drafting the new administration’s reform policies or those who are in harmony with President Moon’s political direction. It is natural that ministers share their philosophy in state administration with the president. However, they should keep in mind that they could cause social conflict by too aggressively spearheading the drive to push for rapid reform demanded by Moon, who has called for reestablishment of the entire nation through liquidation of deep-rooted evils. President Moon also appointed five vice ministers on Sunday, and completing nomination or appointment of about 70 percent of ministers and vice ministers for his administration. Six ministers have yet to be nominated. It is hoped that the president will fill at least the remaining vacancies with figures who would comply with his election pledge of "Cabinet of Grand Unity."