Moon picks Cho Kuk’s ex-assistant as new presidential secretary

SEOUL-- President Moon Jae-in appointed a lawyer who worked as a policy assistant to former Justice Minister Cho Kuk as a new presidential secretary Monday, a choice expected to trigger public controversy.

Moon named Kim Mi-kyoung as his secretary for balanced personnel affairs, according to Cheong Wa Dae. Kim served as deputy secretary at Cheong Wa Dae from 2017-2019 under Cho, who was senior secretary for civil affairs.

Cho was later picked to lead the Ministry of Justice, causing weeks of massive street rallies against him and the Moon administration. He has been indicted on multiple charges, including alleged irregularities involving power abuse and his children's schooling.

Cheong Wa Dae, however, said it did not take her connection with Cho into account.

"She has been appointed on the basis of an assessment of her career as an expert in such issues as gender equality and human rights law," a Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters.

Her new job is to handle the work on removing inequality in assigning duties to civil servants, in particular for social minorities, and improving the related system, the official pointed out.

Kim is experienced in promoting people's rights at the Ministry of Government Legislation and also served as a member of the Korean Bar Association's panel for the victims of Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

Moon named Kim Je-nam, a former lawmaker with the progressive Justice Party, as secretary for climate and environment.

She earlier worked as secretary general of Green Korea United, a Seoul-based environmental civic group.

The Cheong Wa Dae official emphasized that her party background has not been considered either, saying her expertise was the main factor.

Moon also filled three other secretarial posts with new faces -- senior officer for financial affairs, secretary for social economy and secretary for gender equality and family affairs -- in the shake-up of his Cheong Wa Dae staff.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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