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Non-Professionalism Raises Its Ugly Head Again

Posted May. 30, 2005 03:29,   


Last Friday, Cheong Wa Dae accepted the resignation of Moon Jung-in, the head of the Presidential Committee on the Northeast Asia Cooperation Initiative (PCNACI), and citied the concentration of the decision-making process on one person in dealing with the Southwestern Coastal Area Development Project, the so-called S Project, as a reason of acceptance. Namely, due to the PCNACI’s great dependency on Kim Jae-bok, president of the Haengdam Island Development Co., the project was unfairly steered to support the Haengdam Island Development Project, thereby leaving the original purpose of the S Project unrecognized.

On the other hand, non-professionalism is being cited as a main culprit of this incident. In fact, Moon, who is an expert in the field of national security, has no experience in carrying out major national level projects and foreign investment attraction projects. Jeong Tae-in, who served as the chief of planning and cooperation section in the PCNACI, does not have experience in projects designed to attract foreign investment. Jeong, who spearheaded the S Project at the working level, is an economic expert and majored in finance.

The non-professionalism that has become prevalent in the PCNACI was caused in part by Jeong Chan-yong, the former presidential personnel affairs secretary, who played a leading role in establishing the S Project from its initiation. Jeong, who lacks expertise in this field, staffed the committee with his personal connections.

For the project, Jeong Chan-yong asked Moon Dong-joo, professor of Seoul National University, who was involved in the Gwangju-Mokpo Metro Development Project when he worked for the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements, to designing the plan of the S Project.

Moon, who went to the same high school, Gwangju First High School with Jeong Chan-yong, submitted a report for the S Project in early 2004 to the National Balance Development Committee in which he showed his favorable view of inducing foreign investment from Singapore. In this report, Moon also recommended Kim, president of Haengdam Island Development Corporation, as a proper channel to make connection with foreign sources.

Due to this recommendation, the project ended up largely dominated by Kim, and undue enthusiasm in inducing foreign investment from Singapore ended up steering the project in an unintended direction that was greatly favorable to the Haengdam Island Development Project.

Another question has arisen over whether they thoroughly examined the background of Kim. Despite Jeong Chan-yong and the committee’s high evaluation of Kim, it was newly revealed that Kim had never served as an advisor to the electric power office of Singapore.

In fact, the committee asked an information agency to investigate Kim’s background and origins last year. Despite its answer that Kim was a dangerous figure who bragged of his involvement in projects requested by Cheong Wa Dae, the committee ignored it.

Regarding this issue, Jeong Tae-in, the chief of the planning and cooperation section in the committee, protected Kim, however, by saying at a press conference that was held last Wednesday, “Even though Kim deserves blame because he exaggerated his job with no proper cause, given the fact that we were already dealing with the project with Kim at that time, we can’t say that he is an imposter.”

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com