Moon names new spy chief, unification minister, national security advisor
President Moon Jae-in on Friday overhauled his national security and North Korea affairs team, naming Suh Hoon, current chief of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), as the new director of the National Security Office at the Blue House.
Moon named Park Jie-won, a former four-term lawmaker, to succeed Suh as the new head of the country’s main spy agency. Rep. Lee In-young of the ruling Democratic Party (DP) was nominated as the new minister of unification.
Chung Eui-yong, the outgoing head of the Blue House’s National Security Office, will serve as a special advisor to the president. Im Jong-seok, former presidential chief of staff, will also be appointed as a special presidential advisor.
Park, the nominee for the new NIS chief, is a 78-year-old politician known as one of the closest allies of the late President Kim Dae-jung.
“He contributed greatly in arranging the historic 2000 inter-Korean summit,” said Kang Min-seok, presidential spokesman. “He is also an advisor to the current government in inter-Korean issues. His expertise on North Korea is well respected."
President Kim met with then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang in 2000, and Park had traveled to China as a special envoy and met with North Korean officials to arrange the summit.
“Park is known for his ability to provide a concise and clear message,” Kang said. “He also has excellent abilities in intelligence assessment. He served on the Intelligence Committee during the 18th, 19th and 20th National Assembly, making him an expert on the job of the NIS."
Rep. Lee, former floor leader of the DP, was praised for his negotiation skills.
“He has demonstrated reform-mindedness and strong driving forces,” Kang said. “He is the best person to resolve the deadlocked inter-Korean relations with creativity and produce progress in inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula by restoring trust between the two Koreas.”
Kang described Suh as a foreign affairs and national security expert who has dedicated his life to national security. Suh has been one of the architects of Moon’s foreign affairs and national security vision since his presidential campaign.
“We have high expectations for him to lead international cooperation to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis,” Kang said.
The National Assembly confirmation hearings are required for the unification minister and NIS director nominees.
Moon is expected to formally appoint Suh as the National Security Office director on Monday.
BY SER MYO-JA [email@example.com]