President Moon Jae-in has withdrawn his nomination for Science and ICT Minister Cho Dong-ho, who came under fire for his participation in an international conference deemed inappropriate. Transport Minister nominee Choi Jeong-ho announced that he would step down over alleged real estate speculation.
“It was pointed out in the process of his confirmation hearing that the nominee (Cho) may not meet the eyes of the people,” said Yoon Do-han, senior secretary to the president for public relations. This marks the first time that Moon has withdrawn his nomination of a Cabinet minister, and brings the number of the Moon administration’s minister- and vice minister-level nominees that have failed to take office to 11.
“Cho didn’t reveal his participation in the overseas conference, and it was also not revealed during background checks by the education ministry, which is why he was not screened out in the verification process. The confirmation hearings and media reports complete the verification process,” Yoon said. Still, the presidential office has made it clear that it has no plan to accept the opposition parties’ calls for the withdrawal of SMEs Minister nominee Park Young-sun and Unification Minister nominee Kim Yeon-chul.
The main opposition Liberty Korea Party’s floor spokesman Lee Yang-soo has called the presidential office’s move an attempt to cut its losses, saying, “President Moon should have first sacked Cho Kuk, his senior secretary for civil affairs, and Cho Hyun-ok, senior secretary for personal affairs.” The minor opposition Bareunmirae Party spokesman Lee Jong-chul has demanded that the presidential office take responsibility for its faulty verification process and withdraw the nomination for Kim Yeon-chul and Park Young-sun.
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