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Roh’s Ex-Colleagues Choosing Ministers

Posted February. 25, 2006 03:05,   


Former Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MOMAF) officials who earned the trust of President Roh Moo-hyun when he was Minister of Maritime Affairs from August 2000 to April 2001 are now in positions to recommend personnel to the presidential secretariat.

The president’s personnel management secretary, Park Nam-chun, was the head of the general services division at MOMAF when President Roh was minister, and the president’s recently-appointed personnel policy secretary, Moon Hae-nam, was the MOMAF’s ministerial secretary.

The Personnel Management Presidential Secretariat recommends candidates for administrative posts, such ministers and vice-ministers, while the Personnel Policy Presidential Secretariat is a key office that is in charge of recommending candidates to special posts in departments like the police agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

When President Roh was heading the MOMAF, Park took an active leadership role in both Roh’s study group and his knowledge management system. After becoming acquainted with Roh through that role, Park was called to Cheong Wa Dae and was appointed head of the Office of Information, and later, the policy monitoring and personnel policy presidential secretary

“At the time, in order to finish a key task given to him by then-Minister Roh, Secretary Park gave up a promotion to bureau director and offered to transfer to another post with the same rank, leaving a good impression on Roh,” a government official said.

In his book, “Roh Moo-hyun’s Leadership Story,” written about his experiences while serving as Minister of Maritime Affairs, Roh reminisces, “When I was retiring from my minister post, director Moon Hae-nam (the ministerial secretary at the time) told me, “In the end, spending eight months [with Minister Roh] made me dream, and gain hope and confidence.’” In other words, he and President Roh have been close for a while.

The book also gives special attention to other directors in the MOMAF. A Cheong Wa Dae official commented, “Secretaries Park and Moon were exemplary director-level officials that Roh paid attention to at the time.”

Policy Coordination Presidential Secretariat official Soh Moon-sang was promoted to become the successor of domestic communications presidential secretary Ahn Young-bae, who took the post of deputy chief of the Government Information Agency.

The Ministry of Unification’s Gaesong Complex support team chief Cho Myung-gyun was appointed to the post of presidential secretary for security policy, and presidential civil affairs secretariat official Oh Min-soo was appointed to the post of presidential secretary for identity management.

The National Assembly speaker’s policy secretary, Bae Ki-chan, who was President Roh’s policy team leader in the 2002 election, was selected to head the presidential committee on the Northeast Asian Cooperation Initiative.

At a February 16 Cheong Wa Dae dinner with Korean ambassadors from posts abroad, President Roh praised Bae’s book, “Korea, Once Again at the Crossroads of Survival,” as “a good book for ideas related to the future and survival strategy of our country.”

Seoul Metropolitan Police intelligence management chief Kim Do-sik, who was promoted to senior superintendent general, was named presidential secretary for public security.

Yeon-Wook Jung jyw11@donga.com