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Minister Kim Dong-yeon's path after resignation

Posted November. 21, 2018 08:17,   

Updated November. 21, 2018 08:17


Kim Dong-yeon, Finance minister as well as Strategy and Finance Minister, who will soon be packing, appears to be at the center of yet another controversy. This time, it is politics. People are already talking about the 2020 general elections. The love call by the major opposition Liberty Korea Party is blunt. “In 2016, during the Saenuri Party days, we wanted to have him as the commissioner of Emergency Measures Commission,” said Rep. Jung Jin-suk. Even the ruling Democratic Party of Korea is also talking about recruiting Kim for the general elections by having his hometown, North Chungcheong Province, on their side. With the political fall of former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and former South Chungcheong Governor Ahn Hee-jung, some local politicians are even making some rather hasty remarks that Finance Minister Kim needs to revive the “Chungcheong ambition.”

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Kim recently met with journalists and made clear that he has “no intention of getting into politics.” Not so many people from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae and the National Assembly, however, actually accept his remark as it is. This is because Kim is a complicated figure to see through the prism of a normal public servant. "A man with a strong personal affection, Kim is a very motivated person,” said a senior government official. This is probably why some insiders at Cheong Wa Dae said that Kim Dong-yeon is doing his own politics." This reporter believes that his uniqueness could make him contemplate on whether he will enter politics for a long time.

Kim's legendary story of becoming finance minister after graduating from commercial high school and taking night university courses is stale but still appealing. The current political sector lacks a story that people can immediately come up with by hearing just a name. President Moon Jae-in, who is carrying on the unfinished works of former President Roh Moo-hyun, appears to be the only one.

Kim's another trait is "innovative growth" brand that followed him during his days at Cheong Wa Dae. If next year’s economy will also be gloomy, the political sector’s core agenda is highly likely to be economy, and in particular, controversies surrounding the Moon administration's "income-led growth" policy. If the opposition parties want to advance "judgment on income-led growth" during the 2020 general elections, there is no one as fit as Kim, who was on the opposite side. On the other hand, the ruling party also needs to have Finance Minister Kim on their side to reduce the risk of "income-led growth" policy.

Whether Kim will join the political sector is completely up to his decision. His concerns will not end easily as both the ruling and opposition parties have a lot to say. It is, however, better off for him to stay out of politics if Kim only intends to gain a glimpse of it. This reporter hopes that Kim will not walk the same path as former UN chief Ban Ki-moon, a hometown senior who dropped out of politics in just 20 days since his entrance. The political cynicism of our citizens is more than enough.

Seung-Heon Lee ddr@donga.com