Playing by the same old rule book

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Playing by the same old rule book

Shin Hyun-soo, a former prosecutor, has offered to resign from his post as senior secretary of civil affiars to President Moon Jae-in after only 50 days in office. He repeatedly asked to resign, which can only be viewed as extraordinary. He is said to have been pushed aside in the latest prosecution appointments led by new Justice Minister Park Beom-kye, a lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Party (DP).

After confirming his offer of resignation, the Blue House admitted that Shin had offered to resign several times over the disagreement between the Justice Ministry and the prosecution on the senior position appointments and that President Moon did not accept his resignations.

Shin reportedly had attempted to mediate between the prosecution and the Justice Ministry ahead of the appointments. Since he is the first former prosecutor appointed to the office in the Blue House overseeing judiciary affairs, he would have wished to act as a peacemaker between the two warring institutions. But the peaceful mood has soured after the prosecution pressed ahead with an arrest warrant for former Energy Minister Paik Un-gyu for illegalities regarding the early shutdown of the Wolseong-1 reactor. Before Shin could mediate further, the Justice Ministry on Sunday announced the appointments for senior posts of the top law enforcement agency, while retaining Lee Seong-yun as head of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office and promoting Shim Jae-cheol at the Justice Ministry to head the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office. Shin had worked in the Blue House with Moon under President Roh Moo-hyun. He was made the deputy at the National Intelligence Service after Moon became the president. Actually, Moon broke his promise not to recruit a prosecutor as his senior secretary of civil affairs.

After recruitment, Shin was supposed to try to mend ties with the prosecution under Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl, but he was nevertheless overlooked when he opposed the president’s wishes. Moon had made public his confidence in Yoon by even calling him the “chief prosecutor of his government” during his New Year’s press conference.

The ruling camp would have thought that Shin would obediently follow its wishes. But he is known to work on principles and reason. So did Prosecutor General Yoon and Choi Jae-hyung, head of the Board of Audit and Inspection. They were all recruited for their uprighteousness but were shunned when they did not follow orders from above. The government did not deserve honest men in the first place.
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