Park completes cabinet nominations

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Park completes cabinet nominations

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President-elect Park Geun-hye yesterday completed the appointments of her cabinet by announcing the nominations of 11 ministers, including that of future planning and science as well as maritime affairs and fisheries, which have been added to the incoming administration. She also nominated the strategy and finance minister, who will double as deputy economic prime minister.

The announcement, which was made by Kim Yong-joon, head of Park’s transition team, was the president-elect’s third and last round of major appointments, coming only eight days ahead of her inauguration next Monday.

Last Wednesday, Park had named six minister nominees, while on Feb. 8, she selected Jung Hong-won, a former prosecutor, as prime minister. They are all subject to legislative confirmation hearings this week.

The National Assembly also needs to approve Park’s government restructuring plan.

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Kim said yesterday she decided to reveal all of the remaining nominees, including the two new posts that require the legislature’s approval, in order to ease public frustration and ensure stability in state affairs.

Hyun Oh-seok, head of the state-run Korean Development Institute, was named deputy economic prime minister, who will also lead the Ministry of Strategy and Finance. The deputy prime minister post for economic affairs was revived in Park’s new government plan to better cope with tough economic conditions.

Kim Jeong-hun, president of Bell Labs and chief strategy officer of Alcatel-Lucent, was named by Park as minister of future planning and science.

The nomination of Kim, a 52-year-old Korean-American who was born in Seoul, came as a surprise because he had not been mentioned at all by the media throughout the presidential transition team period. Much focus had been put on who will lead the oversized ministry newly created by Park to boost the government’s abilities to develop new growth engines and to create new jobs.

Kim, a successful businessman, immigrated to the United States in 1975 when he was in middle school. He founded Yurie Systems, a high-tech communications equipment venture company, in 1992. He joined Lucent in 1998 when his founding company was acquired by Lucent Technologies for $1 billion. He studied electrical engineering and computer science for his bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University.

For unification minister, Ryoo Kihl-jae, professor at the Seoul-based University of North Korean Studies who currently chairs the Korean Association of North Korean Studies, was named.

Before joining the University of North Korean Studies, Ryoo was dean of Kyungnam University’s Graduate School of North Korean Studies. He studied political science at Korea University.

Ryoo, a 53-year-old from Seoul, had been considered as an academic to be involved in Park’s Blue House or government as he had played a role in planning the president-elect’s policies on North Korea along with others, including Foreign Ministry nominee Yun Byung-se, head of the transition team’s foreign affairs, security and unification subcommittee.

“He is an expert who has been researching North Korean issues for nearly 30 years,” Kim, head of the transition team, told reporters yesterday in a press briefing. “He has approached North Korean policy issues from a rational and balanced point of view.”

Lee Dong-phil, head of the Korea Rural Economic Institute, was nominated as minister of agriculture, forestry and livestock. Lee, 57, is from Uiseong, North Gyeongsang, and throughout his career, he has focused his research on rural development and rural informatization.

Yoon Sang-jick, first vice minister of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, was promoted and named as minister of industry, trade and resources. After studying international trade at Seoul National University, Yoon, a 56-year-old from Gyeongsan, North Gyeongsang, passed the civil services exam in 1982. He joined the then commerce, industry and energy ministry, managing industry, investment and export policies. He served as secretary to President Lee Myung-bak for knowledge economy in 2010-11 before serving as the Knowledge Economy Ministry’s first vice minister.

“Over the 30 years of public service period, Yoon has experienced a wide range of [commerce] fields including trade, investment, resources development and small- and midsized enterprises,” Kim said.

Representative Chin Young from the ruling Saenuri Party, who is also deputy head of Park’s transition team, was named as minister of health and welfare. Chin, 62, is from Gochang, North Jeolla, and he studied law at Seoul National University. He passed the judicial exam in 1975 and worked as a judge and lawyer before joining politics in 1997 as an aide to the presidential candidate of the then Grand National Party. Chin is a three-term lawmaker representing Yongsan District, central Seoul, and is currently the chairman of the National Assembly’s policy committee.

Other nominees included in yesterday’s lineup were Yoon Seong-kyu, former deputy administrator at the Korea Meteorological Administration, as environment minister; Phang Ha-nam, senior researcher at the Korea Labor Institute, as labor minister; Cho Yoon-sun, spokeswoman of President-elect Park, as gender equality and family minister; and Suh Seoung-hwan, professor at Yonsei University, as land and transportation minister; and Yoon Jin-sook, director at the Korea Maritime Institute, as maritime affairs and fisheries minister.

Yoon Seong-kyu, a 56-year-old from Chungju, North Chungcheong, is currently a researching professor at Hanyang University.

He joined the then Ministry of Construction in 1975 as a public servant and moved to the Ministry of Environment and has handled various policy matters involving wastewater irrigation and water quality control. Phang, 55, is an expert in the labor market and social welfare policies. He studied English language at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.

Cho, a 46-year-old former proportional representative of the ruling Saenuri Party from Seoul, joined politics in 2002 when she served as a spokesperson for the then Grand National Party’s election polling committee. After studying diplomacy at Seoul National University, Cho passed the judicial exam in 1991 and in the past worked as a lawyer at Kim & Chang. Suh, 56, from Seoul, studied economics at Yonsei University and is currently a member of the transition team’s second economic subcommittee.

Yoon, 58, is from Busan and she studied geography at Busan Women’s College.


By Lee Eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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