President names 20 vice ministers

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President names 20 vice ministers

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President Park Geun-hye yesterday named 20 vice ministers who are supposed to be specialists in their fields of expertise.

According to presidential spokeswoman Kim Haing, professional expertise and agreement with Park’s governance philosophy were the key to selecting the vice ministers.

Eighteen vice ministers to serve in 13 ministries were announced yesterday along with two vice ministers for the Office of Government Policy Coordination.

“Vice-ministerial posts for the Ministry of Future Planning and Science and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries were left vacant because the government restructuring plan is not complete,” Kim said. “Vice ministers for the Ministry of Strategy and Finance and Ministry of National Defense will be named after their ministers are formally appointed.”

Hyun Oh-seok, Park’s nominee to head the Finance Ministry, had his confirmation hearing yesterday, and Kim Byung-kwan, defense minister nominee, was grilled last week by lawmakers.

While most vice ministers were former or incumbent civil servants, Park recruited Na Seung-il, a professor of vocational education and work-force development at the Seoul National University, to become the vice minister of education.

Kim Kyou-hyun, deputy minister for political affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was promoted to become the first vice minister. Cho Tae-yul, former deputy minister for trade and former ambassador to Spain, was named the second vice minister.

Kim Nam-shik, who headed the Planning and Coordination Office of the Ministry of Unification, was also promoted as its vice minister.

Of the 20 vice ministers, six were from Gyeongsang and five were from Seoul, while three were Jeolla natives. Seoul National University graduates prevailed: 10 of the 20 were from SNU.

More appointments to head agencies under the ministries will be announced today.

On Tuesday, the Blue House announced 37 names of its 40 secretaries. Three secretaries for the National Security Council will be formally appointed after the government restructuring bills are passed.

Park’s longtime associates were appointed to serve as secretaries to run the internal affairs of the Blue House. Lee Jae-man, Park’s aide throughout her lawmaker career, was named administrative affairs secretary of the Blue House, while Jeong Ho-seong and Ahn Bong-geun were named private secretaries to the president.

Tuesday’s appointments almost finalized the 69 powerful aides in the Park Blue House and cabinet, showing that Park picked veteran bureaucrats to run the administration.

Of the 69, 35 were incumbent or former civil servants, while 13 were professors or researchers, comprising nearly 70 percent of the power elite.

Park’s pledge to work toward national unity through diverse appointments, however, did not fully materialize as aides from the capital region and Gyeongsang prevailed.

Of the 69 top officials, 22 are from the capital area including Seoul and Incheon, while 20 are natives of Gyeongsang, where Park’s hometown is located.

Prime Minister Chung Hong-won and the presidential chief of staff, Huh Tae-yeol, are both from South Gyeongsang.

Eleven were from Jeolla, another 11 were from Chungcheong and five were from Gangwon.

The elite group around Park’s predecessor Lee Myung-bak had eight Jeolla natives, while 26 were from the capital region and another 20 were from Gyeongsang. In the Roh Moo-hyun government’s cabinet and Blue House secretariat, 18 people were from Jeolla, while 20 were from Gyeongsang and 13 were from the capital region.


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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