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[Editorial] Presidential Office Gets Down to Earth

Posted January. 05, 2003 22:52,   


Chong Wae Dae today smacks of a royal palace. The presidential office stands heavy and tall like a palace, intimidating visitors. It is located apart from the building where presidential aids work, so they have to drive about 5 minutes to report to the president.

It is welcoming, therefore, that the government transition committee decided to revamp the structure of the presidential residence according to the instruction from president-elect Roh. The committee says that it aims to build a place where a president work with aids face to face, by either remodeling the presidential office or relocating the aids` office.

The decision carries significance in that it will transform Chong Wae Dae, which has been a symbol of authoritarianism, into a friendly and cozy place. If the president and his aids can meet face to face and have discussions more often, it will become much easier for the president to understand what is happening out there. He will also be able to deliver a friendly image to people.

The presidential office located deep inside the high walls not only has hindered the president in dealing with his work, but also built a distance between the president and people. It seems impossible for the president to interact with people openly while staying in the office apart from the outside world.

The restructuring plan must do more than breaking down the high walls, however. It must free Chong Wae Dae from all kinds of authoritative practices including unduly heavy-handed security and protocols. It is time for high-ranking government officials to stop bowing all at once at an appointment ceremony.

We only hope the ambitious plan will not go up in smoke this time again. The incumbent government also crafted five year ago a plan to revamp the presidential office, but soon withdrew the plan citing some security concern. Luckily, with president-elect Roh emphasizing flexibility in security, it is highly likely that the presidential office will go through a facelift. `Open Chong Wae Dae` is the first step towards a true reform.