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Pres.-elect Nominates Chief of Staff, Head of Security

Posted February. 02, 2008 08:35,   


President-elect Lee Myung-bak’s spokesman Joo Ho-young announced yesterday the nominations of Seoul National University professor Yoo Woo-ik as chief of staff and retired General Kim In-jong as chief of presidential security.

“Chief of staff nominee Yoo has not only helped the Lee administration establish the basis for its policies for a long time through his policy advice, but is also well acquainted with the administrative philosophy and policy goals of the president-elect,” Joo told a news briefing.

“Chief of security nominee Kim is the right person to supervise presidential security, given his extensive experience in the military and other areas. He will secure close cooperation between the military and police.”

The spokesman also said the nominees for Lee’s chief secretaries will be announced Feb. 10, but that the names of Cabinet candidates will be released after the passage of a bill on government reorganization by the National Assembly.

Yoo was born in Sangju, North Gyeongsang Province, and has headed the Global Strategy Institute, one of Lee’s policy advisory groups. Yoo has worked closely with the president-elect for more than a decade and is considered one of Lee’s right-hand men. The professor took the initiative in designing Lee’s campaign pledge of the cross-country canal project, and wrote speeches for Lee, including that for his acceptance of his party’s presidential nomination.

Yoo is working on the president-elect’s inauguration speech and is deeply involved in the selection of the prime minister and Cabinet members.

Kim was born on Jeju Island and is a retired army general. He served as the policy coordinator for the Defense Ministry and commander of the Capital Defense Command. During Lee’s presidential campaign, he led a team of reserve generals to provide security consulting.

If his appointment is approved, Kim will be the first reserve general to take charge of presidential security.

○ Interview with Chief of Staff Nominee Yoo

Q: What is your envisioned role in and model for the presidential office?

A: I’d like to dispel the impression that Cheong Wa Dae is the source of authority. The Cabinet should handle national affairs, while Cheong Wa Dae will assist the president in making decisions. It is inappropriate to think that the presidential office is a control tower. Moreover, the chief of staff will not talk much as the president and his spokesman will do most of the talking.

Q: Some have doubted your ability in state administration due to your lack of political experience. How do you respond to that?

A: I admit they have a point, but I’m not a complete fool on state affairs. I’m familiar with major policies and the resulting political implications, as I served as a government policy adviser from 1989 to 1998. I’m not utterly ignorant when it comes to politics since I studied social science. But I’m very unfamiliar with old politics.

Q: Did the president-elect request anything when he informed you of your nomination?

A: He actually did not specifically mention my nomination. I just happened to hear about it while giving him advice, answering his questions and discussing matters as usual. I was merely informed that his spokesman Joo Ho-young would announce the nomination today. (Laughs) Though (the president-elect) did not request anything in particular, we both already knew what kind of place Cheong Wa Dae is and what duties the president has to assume without additional explanation.

○ Interview with Chief of Security Nominee Kim

Q: How you feel about being nominated?

A: There is no need to talk in carrying out security tasks. I will excel in my given duties and tasks to provide impeccable presidential security against various threats and mounting security concerns.

Q: You said you will stay outside of Cheong Wa Dae even after the president-elect takes office. Do you have separate security measures?

A: I have yet to draw up a plan, but I will provide natural yet flawless security by analyzing various situations, as security demand is predicted to considerably increase.

Q: The Office of Presidential Security is opposed to the proposed demotion of the chief of security from the rank of minister to deputy minister, after the office is replaced by a new security agency.

A: As far as I know, (the office) strongly agrees with the principle of a small but strong government, and has been actively cooperating.

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