Cheong Wa Dae replaces secretaries in organizational change

SEOUL-- Cheong Wa Dae announced an organizational change and the replacement of some secretaries Monday as part of efforts to streamline its operations and put fresh vigor into state affairs.

The measure was made public a day before President Moon Jae-in's formal New Year's address in which he will detail the direction of his policy this year.

It also came as two senior officials are leaving Cheong Wa Dae apparently to run in the April 15 general elections. They are Youn Kun-young, director for the state affairs planning and monitoring office, and Joo Hyung-chul, an adviser to the president for economic affairs.

Youn, one of Moon's closest confidants, is reportedly seeking a parliamentary seat in a Guro district constituency in western Seoul. Joo is likely to throw his hat in the ring in his hometown, Daejeon, 160 kilometers south of Seoul.

"It marks the second organizational change of our government in accordance with the diagnosis of the Cheong Wa Dae organization," Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung said in a press briefing.

It is meant to make the division of work and operations more efficient, she added.

Youn posted a farewell message on his Facebook account shortly afterwards, saying, "I am beginning a new challenge. It's quite different work from (what I have done) so far."

Having long served as a staff officer, he is seen as setting his sights on becoming a lawmaker. Youn is known for his liaison role in Cheong Wa Dae's communication with North Korea over summit talks and other affairs.

Oh Jong-shik, presidential secretary for speech planning, has been named as secretary for state affairs planning, with Lee Jin-seok, secretary for policy coordination, tapped as secretary for state affairs monitoring.

Lee has an especially unique career as a former medical doctor. He was a member of Moon's key presidential campaign team for the 2017 elections. He's now tasked with real-time monitoring of major issues related to the government affairs from natural disasters to what's going on in North Korea.

Cheong Wa Dae created a secretarial post to be in charge of the Moon administration's key diplomatic initiatives: the New Southern Policy and New Northern Policy. Joo has handled this work.

Under the organizational shift, Park Jin-kyu, secretary for trade, is to assume the position.

It has also decided to create the new position of secretary for digital innovation. Cheong Wa Dae plans to appoint someone to the post later.

Fostering innovative and inclusive growth is the essence of the government's campaign for nurturing the future growth engines of Asia's fourth-largest economy. It has placed an emphasis on such fields as artificial intelligence (AI), 5G networks and non-memory chips.

Ko said the creation of the post is intended to prepare for the future in response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and to upgrade the quality of the administrative system.

Cheong Wa Dae also unveiled plans to establish three deputy secretarial posts to handle affairs on public safety, the defense industry and the development of materials, parts and equipment, which are related to Moon's core policy drive.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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