[EDITORIALS]Kim Appointment Raises QuestionsThe government rightfully fired Construction and Transportation Minister Oh Jang-seop for his oversight in the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's downgrading of Korean aviation systems. The firing was an appropriate action and it reminds the civil service that its actions are to be held accountable, thereby instilling a fresh sense of responsibility into an organization known for its lax and "assume no responsibility" work ethic.
But the appointment of Kim Yong-chae, president of the state-run Korea Land Corporation, as the new construction and transportation minister brings up another question. Is he a man fit for the job or was he given the job because of his connections to the United Liberal Democrats? The main reason for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's downgrading was that a non-expert sat as minister of the concerned ministry.
Informed insiders said that the new minister, Kim Yong-chae, was a desperate choice of the president. The president, leading a shaky coalition between the ruling Millennium Democratic Party and the United Liberal Democrats, cannot ignore Kim Jong-pil's role and voice as support of the United Liberal Democrats is pivotal in the coalition.
Political considerations aside, the president must fulfill obligations of a chief executive of a nation and remember that his political appointments may play a determining role in state affairs.
In the wake of the U.S. downgrading, the public is clamoring for swift and organized government action to restore the nation's loss of face in international community and to regain Category 1 status. Their clamor is that the government must appoint an expert to the concerned cabinet position. But the overall summary of the latest appointment was that it was made out of political considerations, rather than in heeding to public needs. The president may have done well to listen to the public, instead of listening to Kim Jong-pil as he chose a replacement to Oh Jang-seop. He gave more weight to his coalition with JP but his decision will bear upon him as a political burden.
Kim Jong-pil's actions cannot escape criticism. He was bent on ensuring his party's portion of cabinet positions.