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President Yoon rules out cabinet reshuffle plans

Posted January. 04, 2023 07:52,   

Updated January. 04, 2023 07:52


President Yoon Suk Yeol said in the first Cabinet meeting of 2023 on Tuesday that he had no plans for a cabinet reshuffle, dispelling any rumors of a cabinet change that had been raised since last year.

According to the Presidential Office and the government, President Yoon asked cabinet members to “pay no attention to rumors and focus on duties for the new year” in his closing remarks at the Cabinet Meeting held at the Presidential Office in Yongsan. “It is crucial to stay focused and know where we are headed. We need to deliver tangible changes that the people can feel,” he stressed. President Yoon appears to be committed to delivering labor/education/public pension reforms and leaving no room for the privileged in his second year. “It is now time to sow the seeds and reap, as we have spent the last eight months plowing the ground,” said Chief Presidential Secretary Kim Dae-ki in the New Year’s meeting with his staff.

The ruling party had assumed that President Yoon would carry out a cabinet reshuffle in some ministries, and this rumor gained momentum after the annual minister and vice-minister performance assessment. Some predicted that a chief secretary position would be created under the Presidential office, while some assumed that some chief secretary positions would be replaced.

President Yoon’s dismissal of the rumors on this day dispelled further rumors about cabinet change, reducing the likelihood of Land Minister Won Hee-ryong and Unification Minister Kwon Yeong-se running for the national convention of the ruling party. “We are seeing rising support rates for these candidates. However, the President appears to have no plans for a cabinet reshuffle, given overseas visits scheduled and the upcoming lunar new year holidays,” said a high-ranking official at the ruling party.

However, a mid-sized reshuffle could take place, replacing minister positions with politicians, considering the general election next year. Some predict that the reshuffle may take more time, given the time frame of the confirmation hearing coinciding with the ruling party national convention on March 8.

Kwan-Seok Jang jks@donga.com