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Yoon makes unusual move as President-elect

Posted March. 24, 2022 07:59,   

Updated March. 24, 2022 07:59


South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol will begin listening to local public sentiment before taking office. It is an unusual move for a president-elect, which is speculated to be aimed at the June 1 local election.

Kim Eun-hye, the spokesperson for the president-elect, said during a briefing on Wednesday at the Korea Banking Institute in Seoul that President-elect Yoon is preparing to visit people in local areas and take a look at their livelihood, explaining that it is to express his willingness to fulfill his campaign pledges and reflect them in his national political agenda. As for the specific time and area, Kim said the visit will be made soon, adding rules have already been set but where to visit will be announced as soon as it is decided.

An official at Yoon’s transition committee said the president-elect’s move is to express his gratitude for the election and further strengthen communication with the people. Yoon reportedly responded positively to the request of some lawmakers to “listen to the voices of the people” during his meeting with newly-elected members of the People Power Party (PPP) the previous day. Following his visit to the Namdaemun Market in Seoul and the site of forest fire in Uljin on March 14 and 15, respectively, President-elect Yoon told his transition committee to “find the answer on the site.”

Yoon’s unusual move as president-elect is seen as aimed at the June 1 local election. A re-elected member of the ruling Democratic Party said the early stages of presidential transition are full of works, such as reports from each department and selection of national political agendas, adding that taking the time to thank people for his election seems to be aimed at the upcoming local election.

On the foreign affairs front, Yoon spoke with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on the phone on Wednesday. It is his sixth phone conversation with foreign heads of state following U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, U.K. Prime Minster Boris Johnson, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Yoon and Nguyen discussed ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation, celebrating the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Yoon is reportedly planning to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the phone within this week.

Sung-Hwi Kang yolo@donga.com