In year’s 2nd reshuffle, Moon taps 6 secretaries

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In year’s 2nd reshuffle, Moon taps 6 secretaries

President Moon Jae-in tapped six new secretaries Wednesday in this year’s second Blue House reshuffle, including a political affairs secretary who previously served as mayor of Asan, South Chungcheong.

The latest reshuffle came a day after Moon changed his chief of staff, senior secretary for political affairs and senior secretary for public affairs. The personnel changes came as Moon tries to navigate dour economic prospects, two whistle-blowing scandals and plummeting approval ratings.

The outgoing secretaries did not elaborate on their future plans on Tuesday or Wednesday, but multiple sources in the Blue House and National Assembly said many of those who were leaving would probably take a break from politics before vying for a parliamentary seat in the 2020 elections. On Wednesday, Shin Jee-yeon, secretary for the foreign press, was named personal secretary II to the president, which job mostly concerns looking after First Lady Kim Jung-sook. Bok Ki-wang, the former mayor of Asan and a lawmaker for the now-defunct liberal Uri Party, became secretary for political affairs.

Yeo Hyeon-ho, a former senior journalist for the left-leaning newspaper Hankyoreh took on the job of secretary for state affairs information. Kim Ae-kyung, standing auditor of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, became secretary for the foreign press. Yoo Song-hwa, personal secretary II to the president, who previously served as deputy spokeswoman of the ruling Democratic Party, was named director of the Blue House press center. Yang Hyun-mee, the head of the Korea Arts & Culture Education Service, was tapped as the new secretary for culture.

Bok, the new political affairs secretary, was elected mayor for Asan in 2010. After he finished his first term in 2014, he won a second four-year term that lasted through February 2018. He ran for governor of South Chungcheong in last year’s general elections but lost. Bok will work under Kang Ki-jung, the senior secretary for political affairs, who was tapped on Wednesday. Kang formerly served three times as a lawmaker. Bok’s predecessor had no experience in the National Assembly, while Kang’s predecessor served only once as a lawmaker. This shows that President Moon values parliamentary experience in choosing his new political secretaries this year.

Yeo, the new secretary for state affairs information, will work alongside Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom, also a former Hankyoreh reporter. The state affairs information job was newly created last July on the order of Moon, but remained vacant. The president refused to hire any of the three to four candidates recommended to him, according to Blue House sources.

A Blue House official said that the six secretaries tapped Wednesday were effectively the last personnel recommendations of Im Jong-seok, Moon’s former chief of staff, who was replaced Tuesday. The official said any secretaries named from now on will most likely be picked by Im’s successor, Noh Young-min, who, until Tuesday, served as the Korean ambassador to China.

Another high-level Blue House official said Noh was prone to favor people who he worked with on Moon’s campaign in the 2012 presidential election, which he lost to former President Park Geun-hye.

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