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Roh’s Controversial Picks Laying Low

Posted August. 12, 2006 10:21,   


Senior Presidential Secretary for Public Information Lee Baek-mahn and Secretary for Public Planning Yang Jeong-cheol kept silent the whole day on August 11, ignoring inquiry calls from reporters.

They fell under suspicion of arbitrary nominations raised by Yoo Jin-ryong, the former vice-minister of Culture and Tourism.

They kept defensive stance with a remark of Jung Tae-ho, spokesperson of Cheong Wa Dae, that “This incident is not even worth to be explained.” Officials said they will not deliver a public explanation about this matter.

It seems that Lee and Yang decided to avoid a clash for fear that the situation involved with the past replacement of former vice-minister Yoo would become worse if publicized by an official explanation.

Spokesperson Jung evaded further references with a remark that, “The matter of asking for that nomination is not an essential reason Yoo had been replaced.”

Jung also eluded controversies over the stir by saying that it is inadequate to confirm some problematic points such as the details of authority supervision for Yoo.

Lee and Yang have often contradicted directly the trivial faults of the reports of the media on press conferences. Some of the criticism has been presented that it is unfair for such fundamentalists to keep silence when they themselves become suspicious.

Lee was selected as the Presidential Secretary for Public Information in this February. As a former chief of an economic department in Hankook Ilbo, He had been a Deputy Chief of Government Information Agency since March of 2004 until he was appointed to the present position.

While working at the Government Information Agency he wrote many favorable articles for President Roh, including one that compares the former president Park Jung-hee and the President Roh Moo-hyun to a high school principal and university president.

He found fault with the columns of Dong-A Ilbo and analytic articles of Chosun Ilbo, and he expressed Cheong Wa Dae’s denial of news gathering based upon those articles.

Yang worked at a public relations department of a private corporation and as a reporter at the Press Union from 1988-1994. After working for Nasan Group in 1994, he worked as a secretary of Jung Tae-soo, the chairman of Hanbo Group, in the middle of its moral and financial crisis during 1995-1997. He was also the head of the public relations department of Skylife Corporation in 2001.

After he joined Roh’s presidential election polling committee in 2002, he went into Cheong Wa Dae with the position of executive official at a Domestic Press Secretary Department and soon was promoted to the chief secretary where he is now.

He gave aggressive expressions against Dong-A Ilbo regarding the issue of transferring the capital city with a piece titled, “Clear away the cursed exorcism” on the official website of Cheong Wa Dae.

Yang brought on public criticism in August, 2004 because of revelations of his demand for sharing the Government’s expenses with Samsung Corporation.