Moon replaces top Cheong Wa Dae aides ahead of Cabinet reshuffle
SEOUL, President Moon Jaein replaced three of his senior Cheong Wa Dae secretaries Friday in the runup to a Cabinet shakeup expected early next month.
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) CEO Kim Jowon was named to replace Cho Kuk, the president's apparent pick for justice minister, as the senior secretary for civil affairs.
Moon also replaced two senior secretaries one for job creation, Jung Taeho, and one for civic and social affairs, Lee Yongsun as they intend to run in next year's general elections.
Cho and Jung are quitting their Cheong Wa Dae jobs after more than two years of service. They joined Cheong Wa Dae with the launch of the liberal Moon administration in May 2017. Lee is leaving the presidential office relatively early. He assumed his post in June last year.
Hwang Deoksoon, secretary for job creation, has been promoted to succeed Jung. Lee's post has been filled by Kim Geosung, former head of the South Korean branch of Transparency International.
Senior secretaries to the president hold vice ministerialgrade positions.
Noh Youngmin, presidential chief of staff, made the announcement at the Cheong Wa Dae press room. It's the first time that Noh, a former lawmaker and ambassador to China, has spoken formally in front of the media since he took up his current post in January.
Cho, a former law professor, has been a prime target of political attacks from the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP). The conservative party argues that Cho should be held responsible for having failed to properly screen the qualifications of many ministerial nominees over the past two years.
Cho is also determined to press ahead with a reform of the state prosecution, which is often accused of being politically swayed. The LKP is strongly opposed to the government's moves to establish an independent unit specializing in investigating corruption by highranking officials and to give the police more authority and rights.
In a departure message, Cho said he expresses an "intention of respect" toward some opposition parties and media, which have ferociously criticized him and sent "bitter jeers" at him.
"It was a burden that (I) have to endure willingly as a senior civil servant," he said. He also admitted that he has caused public worries while carrying out his duty at Cheong Wa Dae due to "lack of ability and foolishness."
His successor, Kim, served as secretary for civil service discipline in 2005 under the Roh Moohyun administration. At that time, Kim worked with Moon, who was senior presidential secretary for civil affairs and justice.
Kim also worked for a long time at the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI), the state audit agency.
Moon reportedly plans to carry out a Cabinet shakeup before midAugust, which will likely affect several ministerial posts, including that of justice minister.
If the president nominates Cho to become the new justice minister, it would usher in another round of political disputes, especially in the confirmation hearing process at the National Assembly.
On Thursday, Moon appointed Yoon Seokyoul, a reformminded veteran prosecutor, as prosecutor general.
Now in his third year in office, Moon is also likely to replace some of his Cheong Wa Dae secretaries not long after the Cabinet reshuffle.
In the previous replacement of top Cheong Wa Dae aides in late June, Moon appointed Kim Sangjo, then chief of the Fair Trade Commission, as chief of staff for policy and Lee Hoseung, then vice finance minister, as senior secretary for economic affairs.
Heading toward the halfway point of his fiveyear tenure, Moon is apparently seeking to head off discipline problems among Cheong Wa Dae officials and other civil servants, some observers said.
Source: Yonhap news Agency