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Yoon warns ministers lagging behind in policy implementation

Yoon warns ministers lagging behind in policy implementation

Posted May. 11, 2023 07:42,   

Updated May. 11, 2023 07:42


Presiding over a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, President Yoon Suk Yeol warned, “If (government officials) are obsessed with anti-nuclear energy and ideologically biased environment policies and thus fail to comply with the direction of new state policies, take a decisive measure in HR.” President Yoon openly warned ministers in an unusual move apparently because the Trade, Industry, and Energy Ministry and the Environment Ministry have been lagging behind in implementing policy measures. His stern warning in the wake of the first anniversary of his inauguration is interpreted as his attempt to establish strong disciplines in the officialdom while urging all ministries to push ahead with the execution of state agendas during his second year in office.

According to the presidential office and the ruling party, reports were submitted on Wednesday to the president indicating that little progress has been made in the execution of key tasks, including the energy ministry’s policy to revive the nuclear energy industry and reform Korea Electric Power Corp. “The president has judged that the energy team in the energy ministry is not functioning properly, and he thus seeks to accelerate the implementation of state policies by replacing personnel, including a vice minister,” a senior official at the presidential office said. “Due to the Moon Jae-in administration’s last-minute appointment of senior officials and reappointment of his aides and supporters to key posts at ministries, senior officials from the previous government still keep their jobs at major state-run organizations as well.”

Notably, President Yoon has reportedly been debriefed about the situation wherein senior officials who were deeply involved in the Moon administration’s policy to exit from nuclear energy are still maintaining their jobs even a year after President Yoon’s inauguration is affecting personnel restructuring in those organizations. “The fact that those organizations have passively responded to groundless news reports saying that last year’s hikes of energy prices were not related to the Moon administration’s policy to exit from nuclear energy has been mentioned as a problem since long ago,” an official in the ruling People’s Power Party said.

As for the Environment Ministry, issues have been reportedly raised over officials’ lackluster move in implementing policies, including response to severe drought by using dams built on the ‘Four Rivers.’ “Ministries’ own stance on policies are more strongly influencing than the implementation of key national tasks,” the ruling party official said. Another official in the ruling party said, “If no progress is made, the two ministries will be subject to personnel reshuffles,” adding, “The President’s warning means that ministers should take the lead and responsibility in thoroughly implementing policies.”

Kwan-Seok Jang jks@donga.com