Park makes 3 key government appointments

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Park makes 3 key government appointments


From left: Hwang Chan-hyon, Moon Hyung-pyo, Kim Jin-tae

President Park Geun-hye appointed three key long-pending government posts yesterday. Hwang Chan-hyon was selected as chief of the Board of Audit and Inspection; Kim Jin-tae takes the role of prosecutor-general; and Moon Hyung-pyo will head the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

“President Park concluded that she could no longer postpone the appointments for the sake of normalizing the state of affairs,” a high-ranking government official said yesterday.

The president’s move came four days after the National Assembly passed a motion to appoint Hwang, former chief of the Seoul Central District Court, as head of the board, despite a boycott from the Democrats.

Democrats opposed Hwang’s nomination primarily because he comes from Masan, which covers the Gyeongsang area, and argued that the administration has a geographical bias in handing out appointments. President Park was born in Daegu, South Gyeongsang, and has many supporters in that region.

Whereas the post for the Board of Audit and Inspection required an approval from the Assembly, the decision to fill the other two posts was left up to the president after lawmakers failed to complete an examination or a personnel hearing within the 20-day deadline. The Blue House nominated Hwang and Moon on Oct. 25, and Kim, on Oct. 27.

“I promise to firmly stick to independence and political neutrality, the core value of the audit board,” said Hwang at his inauguration ceremony.

Likewise, Moon vowed to “achieve policy goals without being swayed by philosophy or ideology.”

“Dichotomy-oriented dispute is an outdated product,” he added, referring to the persistent bickering between the ruling and opposition parties.

Democrats took issue with Moon’s use of a corporate credit card during his time serving as a senior economist at the Korea Development Institute. They accused him of using it for his private affairs.

The 57-year-old Moon earned a doctoral degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Kim, 61, the new prosecutor-general, has been working as a senior adviser at a private law firm since July.

Born in Sacheon, which also falls into the Yeongnam region, he graduated from Seoul National University’s law school and passed the national bar exam in 1982. Known as an expert in “special probes” because of his experience in large investigations involving former presidents, Kim worked at a number of prosecutors’ offices in Seoul, Incheon, Busan, Daegu, Cheongju and Daejeon.

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