A fishy appointmentThe Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries under the Rho Moo-hyun administration was revived as the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries in the Park Geun-hye administration. Since presidential candidates of the ruling and opposition parties alike vowed to reestablish it, voters had high expectations about the new ministry. Unfortunately, however, concerns about the qualifications of Yoon Jin-sook, former director of the Korea Maritime Institute, as head of the new ministry are ever growing.
The main opposition Democratic United Party, which heads the Agriculture, Food, Rural Affairs, Oceans and Fisheries Committee at the National Assembly, refused to approve her after her confirmation hearings. What attracts our attention, though, is little resistance from the ruling Saenuri Party against the DUP’s objection. And yet Park seems to push ahead with her appointment.
Lawmakers’ opposition to her appointments has unfolded quite differently in the past. Most of the seven appointees for high government posts dropped out due to their moral problems. But Yoon has been under attack for a critical lack of qualifications as minister. Even the Saenuri Party’s core member of the standing committee called it a shocking appointment given the answers, leadership and knowledge she demonstrated at the hearings.
At the confirmation hearings, Yoon confessed that she had declined the president’s job offer twice, as she lacked the political skills and leadership required for the job. That’s a clear testament to her limitations rather than her modesty. If Park wanted to press ahead with her decision, that means she was convinced of her qualifications as minister. As it turned out, the president only had a chance to witness what Yoon said during a seminar long ago. If Park had picked her based on that experience, we seriously wonder if she made the right choice.
The Blue House says the appointee will prove her credibility and capability as time goes by. But that’s an utterly dangerous judgment on par with betting. If Yoon proves otherwise, she will most likely be the butt of a joke. The way Yoon answered questions from lawmakers clearly shows how she will respond to their questions before the Assembly.
National governance is not a testing ground. The three seas surrounding the Korean Peninsula have become an arena for intense competition with China and Japan. The minister in charge of such a momentous task should demonstrate proper leadership. If the president made the wrong choice, she must reverse it.