Park appoints Han Gwang-ok as her new chief of staff

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Park appoints Han Gwang-ok as her new chief of staff


Han Gwang-ok [NEWSIS]

President Park Geun-hye on Thursday appointed Han Gwang-ok, former chief of staff of the Kim Dae-jung Blue House, as her new presidential chief of staff.

The Blue House said Thursday that Park also appointed Hur Won-je, a journalist-turned-politician, as her new senior political affairs secretary.

Han, 74, is a political heavyweight in the Jeolla region and a loyalist of the late President Kim. He joined Park’s campaign in 2012 to promote national unity and solidarity and later appointed as the chairman of the Presidential Committee for National Cohesion. The late Kim was the strongest political adversary of Park’s father, the late strongman Park Chung Hee.

Hur is a former journalist of SBS. He was elected as a lawmaker in 2008 in Busan and served as a vice chairman of the Korea Communications Commission from 2014 till 2015.

In an attempt to salvage her sinking presidency, Park has been making a series of reshuffles. On Sunday, she appointed new senior secretaries for civil affairs and public affairs. On Wednesday, Park nominated Kim Byong-joon, a key aide to the late President Roh Moo-hyun, as her new prime minister.

Park and her administration are reeling from revelations that the president’s longtime friend Choi Soon-sil had far more influence than she should have - to the point of being a power behind the throne. Choi allegedly had access to top-secret national security documents, influenced personnel appointments in the administration, strong-armed conglomerates into donating to foundations and apparently was involved in major decisions. She was taken into custody by the prosecution on Monday.

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