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Yoon to communicate directly with the public next year

Posted December. 21, 2022 07:44,   

Updated December. 21, 2022 07:44


It was reported on Tuesday that President Yoon Suk Yeol decided not to hold a New Year's press conference. Instead, the dominant belief of the Presidential Office is that President Yoon will try to communicate directly with the public, such as conducting work reports by ministries for a month from Wednesday in the form of a ‘report to the public.’

“It has not been decided yet, and we are considering various channels to communicate with the public,” an official from the presidential office said in a phone call with The Dong-A Ilbo on Tuesday. Earlier, working-level officials in the presidential office prepared a plan to hold a New Year's press conference as usual. Still, it is said that additional discussions for actually moving things along are currently on hold.

On the surface, the President's Office has cited that the schedule is too tight until next year's Lunar New Year holiday (January 21-24) to hold a New Year's press conference. Starting with the Ministry of Strategy and Finance on Wednesday, President Yoon plans to proceed with business reports swiftly to 22 ministries, four committees, and several services, such as the National Tax Service, by mid-January next year. The president is also considering attending the ‘2023 World Economic Forum' in Switzerland on January 15-20 next year.

In addition, it is reported that President Yoon deems internally that meeting and communicating directly with the people is more effective in securing the driving force for state affairs and upping approval ratings. This is why the upcoming ministries’ work report is scheduled to be conducted in the form of a 'report to the public' in the presence of the public, who are policy consumers, following the government agenda inspection meeting held on Thursday with 100 national panelists in attendance. "Regarding the New Year's press conference, we are considering many options regarding the timing and format of public communication," an official from the presidential office said.

“There is a limit to conveying the direction of state affairs by holding a press conference where issues or interests are diverted,” a high-ranking official in the presidential office said. “There will be many opportunities to communicate with the public, such as work reports addressed by each ministry.” However, there is a high probability that President Yoon will not hold a New Year's press conference, where reporters freely ask questions about various pending issues, after President Yoon decided to do without his 'door stepping' (short press conference) he used to conduct on the way to work in the wake of the conflict with MBC in November. For these reasons, there are criticisms that the current administration's creed of “strengthening communication” is being underserved.

Former presidents have usually presented their national goals for the year at New Year's press conferences. Former President Park Geun-hye held a New Year's press conference on January 6, 2014, the year after her inauguration, and former President Moon Jae-in on January 10, 2018, the year after his inauguration. Former President Lee Myung-bak held a New Year's press conference in January 2008 when he was elected president. Still, after taking office, he gave a New Year's State of the Union address with only his aides in attendance.

Su-Young Hong gaea@donga.com