Senior security adviser resigns amid rumors

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Senior security adviser resigns amid rumors


Kim Ki-jung

Kim Ki-jung, second vice chief of President Moon Jae-in’s national security team, submitted his resignation Monday, less than two weeks after he was appointed, following ongoing rumors about his unethical behavior at Yonsei University, where he teaches political science and diplomacy.

Yoon Young-chan, senior presidential secretary for public relations, said in a statement that Kim felt a “moral responsibility” to step down and that “his health steeply deteriorated due to the heavy workload.” Kim reportedly was hospitalized.

Yoon did not mention whether Kim’s resignation was accepted or whether the Blue House was planning to approve it. The local daily Hankyoreh, which broke the news, reported that the presidential office decided to sack him and informed him of its decision Sunday night. Kim did not report for work Monday.

Sources from the ruling Democratic Party told the JoongAng Ilbo on the condition of anonymity that Kim was practically fired for “inappropriate behavior” at Yonsei University, without elaborating.

One official said there were “numerous reports from people” at the school, including “a lot of backlash from local women’s groups.”

Kim’s apparent dismissal came just 12 days after his appointment. Moon has been struggling to redeem himself as his nominees for top government posts face tough hurdles to confirmation.

When it was revealed that Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon’s wife used a fake address in 1989 to be assigned to a more favorable teaching position, Moon admitted his investigation procedures were botched last week and implored “understanding” from opposition lawmakers and the public.

Kim’s resignation comes as his Blue House team is preparing for a bilateral summit with Washington, set for the end of this month.

The Yonsei professor was known as an advocate of inter-Korea reconciliation and a more balanced alliance with the United States and assisted Moon during his campaign. In February, Kim visited Washington as Moon’s envoy when the candidate soared in the polls. Kim conveyed Moon’s foreign and security visions to the U.S. government, Congress and think tanks.

“The civil affairs office at the Blue House had been thoroughly looking into the rumors,” the Hankyoreh newspaper quoted a senior official of the Democratic Party as saying. “President Moon has critical issues to deal with, like the upcoming bilateral summit, but he came to the conclusion that it wasn’t right to keep [Kim] on the team.”

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