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Ruling party criticizes Yoon’s move to relocate presidential office

Ruling party criticizes Yoon’s move to relocate presidential office

Posted March. 19, 2022 07:23,   

Updated March. 19, 2022 07:23


“Did President-elect Yoon Seok-youl’s “preemptive strike” remarks aim at the Ministry of Defense?”

The ruling Democratic Party (DP) is harshly criticizing President-elect Yoon’s plan to relocate the existing presidential office in Cheong Wa Dae to the defense ministry compound in Yongsan, Seoul. The DP said the relocation alone would cost 1.1 trillion won, arguing that the hasty move to relocate the presidential office should be withdrawn immediately.

In a press conference held in front of the defense ministry building on Friday, DP lawmakers, who are also members of the National Defense Committee, said the access of the public into the Ministry of Defense building is strictly prohibited as it is located next to the building of Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). They claimed that if the presidential office is relocated to the defense ministry building with the main functions of the JCS still in place, it would be the birth of a true royal palace, where the access of the public is virtually impossible. It means the move runs counter to Yoon’s cause for relocation, which is to increase communication with the public.

“President-elect Yoon even mentioned the possibility of a preemptive strike against North Korea in case of missile provocation from the North, consistently putting an emphasis on national security based on strength, but he wishes to move the presidential office to the defense ministry building, where even National Security Council (NSC) meetings cannot be held,” the DP lawmakers said. “It is like acknowledging that his national security pledge was nothing but an empty slogan.”

President-elect Yoon’s side said the cost of moving would be around 50 billion won, but the amount only covers the cost of renovation, the DP argued. Rep. Kim Byung-ju, who served as a deputy commander of the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command, estimated that the move would cost a total of 1.1 trillion won, including the relocation of Cheong Wa Dae security team and 10 units under the Ministry of Defense.

Dong-Jun Heo hungry@donga.com