Yoon picks Park Jin as foreign minister in second round of Cabinet picks

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President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol (center) announces the appointments of the minister and chief of staff to the office of the presidential transition committee in Seoul on Wednesday. Left to right (back row): Cho Seung-hwan, Minister of Oceans, Lee Sang-min, Minister of Interior, Kwon Young-se, Minister of Unification, Kim In-chul, Minister of Education , Han Dong-hoon, Minister of Justice, Environment Minister appointed Han Hwa-jin and chief of staff appointed Kim Dae-ki. (Yonhap)

President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol selected eight new cabinet ministers and a chief of staff on Wednesday, following his first eight nominations on Sunday.

For the post of foreign minister, Yoon nominated for four terms Representative Park Jin of the People Power Party, who led his political consultation delegation to Washington.

Park is a diplomacy expert who began his career by passing the state Foreign Service Examination in 1977.

He served as press secretary for foreign media in the presidential office of the late President Kim Young-sam in 1993, and also served as head and member of the parliamentary committee for foreign affairs and unification.

Park was not present for the announcement, along with other nominees, as he tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling to the United States.

Yoon’s surprise choice for the post of justice minister was Han Dong-hoon, a senior prosecutor and close aide to the president-elect.

Han, currently vice president of the Judicial Research and Training Institute, conducted special investigations of former presidents Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye.

Tapping Han into the post is seen as an exceptional move, as he is junior to other senior justice system officials, such as Attorney General Kim Oh-soo, among other reasons. Kim is seven years older than Han.

But Yoon denied that it was not an “exceptional appointment”, citing Han’s work experience.

According to Yoon, Han has experience not only in law enforcement but also in judicial administration, as he has held senior positions in the Ministry of Justice and the Procuratorate over the past 20 years. It’s important because his government plans to “modernize” this part of the justice system, Yoon said.

“Han is also fluent in English and has various international work experiences. So I asked him to modernize the administration of justice, which meets the global standard, and also support economic development,” Yoon said at the press briefing.

From left to right (first row from top): Kim In-chul, Minister of Education, Park Jin, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kwon Young-se, Minister of Unification.  From left (second row from top): Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon, Interior Minister candidate Lee Sang-min, Environment Minister candidate Han Hwa-jin.  who.  (Yonhap)

From left to right (first row from top): Kim In-chul, Minister of Education, Park Jin, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kwon Young-se, Minister of Unification. From left (second row from top): Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon, Interior Minister candidate Lee Sang-min, Environment Minister candidate Han Hwa-jin. who. (Yonhap)

For the post of unification minister, Yoon tapped four-term representative Kwon Young-se of the People Power Party, who is currently vice chairman of the presidential transition committee.

Kwon, a prosecutor-turned-legislator, is a close associate who has had a personal relationship with Yoon since college and served as the head of Yoon’s presidential campaign team. Rep. Kwon served as ambassador to China from 2013 to 2015 for then-President Park.

For the deputy prime minister and minister of education, former president of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Kim In-chul was nominated as a candidate. Kim served as the university’s president for eight years and also headed the Korea Council for University Education.

Han Hwa-jin, a senior researcher at the Korea Environment Institute, has been named head of the environment ministry. Han has worked at KEI as a researcher for 30 years and served as Presidential Secretary for the Environment in 2009.

For the interior and security minister, Lee Sang-min, former vice-head of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, was nominated.

Yoon’s choice of nonpolitical candidates for the justice and interior ministries follows his principles of not bringing many sitting lawmakers into his Cabinet.

Not only did Yoon find it risky to remove more lawmakers from the People’s Power Party, of which he is a member, as the majority of seats are held by the Democratic Party of Korea, but Yoon also saw it as necessary with regional elections scheduled. for June 1.

Yoon also nominated Cho Seung-hwan, former director of the Korea Marine Science and Technology Advancement Institute, for the post of minister of oceans and fisheries, and People Power Party representative Lee Young for the post of minister. SMEs and start-ups.

On Wednesday, Yoon also announced the name of the first appointed chief of staff, appealing to Kim Dae-ki, who held the same position for the late President Roh Moo-hyun.

Earlier in the day before the press conference, Yoon had reiterated that his criteria for cabinet appointment was based on the talent and good looks of the personalities and “whether they would be able to serve the people well.”

During a meeting with former President Park on Tuesday, Yoon told him that he had “reviewed how former President Park Chung-hee managed the cabinet and the presidential office”, according to Yoo Young-ha, the confidant of Park, who chaired the meeting.

The late ex-president and dictator Park Chung-hee is Park Geun-hye’s father.

Cabinet members nominated by the president-elect on Wednesday are subject to parliamentary confirmation hearings, although the appointment could still be finalized if the president insists.

The Prime Minister is the only Cabinet position that requires parliamentary confirmation.

By Jo Herim (herim@heraldcorp.com)

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