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Prime Minister Awaits Confirmation

Posted March. 28, 2006 08:25,   


“Today I have the first official meeting as the Prime Minister nominee. There is big challenge ahead of me: the confirmation hearing. I will launch preparation meetings to meet the challenge.”

On March 27, at the seven-pyeong office on the third floor of the government building in Changseong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Han Myeong-sook, who was recently nominated as prime minister, prepared her first official meeting with officials at her new office. On arrival, the nominee in purple skirt and ivory blouse said, “Good morning” to reporters. She told the officials to take a seat who were hesitating.

Han’s facial expression and her dress were gentle. But her language was determined enough to dispel concerns that her leadership is weak compared to male officials.

Han said to high-ranking officials of the office of the prime minister, including Cho Young-taek of the Office of Government Policy Coordination, that “I am the captain and you are crewmen. The ship is run by crewmen and I will coordinate things in order for you to pull the oars.”

“The captain always leads the way to the destination and direction. My destination and direction is public well being and happiness. I will prepare for the coming confirmation hearing and serve as the prime minister based on this goal,” said Han. She asked the gathered officials to work thoroughly and actively as if they were all prime ministers themselves.

When asked to pose for more photos, Han said, “I don’t mind posing for photographs” and shook hands with Cho.

When reporters kept taking pictures of the nominee even after the handshake, she said to Cho, “Although politics make the public frustrated, I want the confirmation hearing to be a pleasant event.”

Han was briefed on the state affairs by Yoo Jong-sang, vice minister of government planning affairs, and Park Jong-koo, vice Minister of public policy coordination, with many assistant ministers present.

Han will be briefed by assistant ministers on administration affairs in the morning and afternoon each day in preparation for the confirmation procedure.

Min-Hyuk Park mhpark@donga.com