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Pres. Park nominates medical doctor as new health minister

Pres. Park nominates medical doctor as new health minister

Posted August. 05, 2015 07:22,   


President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday nominated Chung Chin-youb, a medical doctor, as new health minister, dismissing the incumbent Moon Hyung-pyo for the health authorities` bungling during the early stages of the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). She also named Kim Hyun-sook, a lawmaker of the ruling Saenuri Party, as the senior presidential secretary for employment and welfare.

Chung served as a professor at Seoul National University for 25 years, while Kim is an expert in employment, welfare and women`s policies who was actively involved in the negotiations for reforming the pension system for government employees. Observers say the latest reshuffle is intended for division of labor between presidential office Cheong Wa Dae and the Ministry of Health and Welfare, as the president put a medical doctor-turned minister in charge of public health while entrusting one of her close aides with the task of the pension reform.

President Park plans to complete the reshuffle with the "one point" appointments before putting spurs to major policy agendas for the rest of this year. As August 25 marks the halfway point in her term in office, the president plans to issue a public statement to disclose her plans.

In the statement, she reportedly plans to call for public support for her efforts to reinvigorate the economy, create jobs for young people and reform the labor market, while urging businesses to increase investment and employment. She also stressed youth job creation and labor market reform at Tuesday`s Cabinet meeting at her office, noting that a rapidly aging society is intensifying youth unemployment, which the government cannot entirely address. "For fundamental resolution (of high youth unemployment), it is absolutely necessary to reform the labor market," she said. "It is no exaggeration to say that the labor market reform is job creation for young people."

She also noted that the 70th anniversary of national liberation from Japan`s colonial rule should be turned into an opportunity to "reverse the depressed atmosphere among people and boost their consumption sentiment," instructing the administration to draw up measures to designate August 14, a day before the Liberation Day, as a temporary holiday. The is preparing a set of measures to boost the spirit of Korean citizens, including making all expressways toll-free on August 14 to encourage domestic travel as part of efforts to reinvigorate the faltering economy.