Top experts join Yoon's campaign for presidency

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Top experts join Yoon's campaign for presidency

In this file photo from Dec. 9, 2020, Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Lee Do-hoon speaks during his meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul. [YONHAP]

In this file photo from Dec. 9, 2020, Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Lee Do-hoon speaks during his meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul. [YONHAP]

 
Dozens of prominent experts, including President Moon Jae-in’s former point man for North Korea, joined the presidential campaign of the opposition party’s frontrunner Yoon Seok-youl.
 
Rep. Chang Je-won of the People Power Party (PPP) said Tuesday that Yoon’s campaign has recruited 42 experts to offer recommendations for presidential pledges. They will work in four teams: economic policy; social policy; foreign affairs, national security and unification policy; and education policy.
 
Yoon’s foreign affairs, national security and unification policy advisory team, according to Chang, has 19 members and is chaired by Yun Duk-min, chair professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
 
One member of the team is Lee Do-hoon, a veteran diplomat who played a key role in the Moon administration’s push for the Korea Peninsula Peace Process.
 
“We recruited many people who share the same philosophy as Yoon,” said one of Yoon's aides. “It was our plan to normalize the blueprint of Korea’s diplomacy in order to complete the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”  
 
Lee, who started his career as a diplomat in 1985, served various key posts in the Foreign Ministry. From 2012 till 2014, he was in charge of the Foreign Ministry’s diplomacy planning team on North Korea’s nuclear crisis. In 2013, he oversaw sanctions imposed in Pyongyang after the North’s third nuclear crisis.
 
From September 2016 till May 2017, he served as the presidential secretary for foreign affairs at the Park Geun-hye Blue House.  
 
After Moon took office in May 2017, Lee was appointed as the special representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs and Seoul’s chief negotiator for the six-party nuclear talks and served the posts from September 2017 till December 2020.
 
In the Moon government, Lee was the counterpart of the Donald Trump administration’s deputy secretary of state and special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun. Lee was also the chief negotiator of the Korea-U.S. Working Group which handled inter-Korean exchange and cooperation projects and sanctions.
 
Despite his role in the Moon’s North Korea diplomacy, Lee was not given a new assignment in the recent reshuffle and retired in March. The special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security was a vice minister-level post, and Lee’s retirement was seen as a surprise to many, because most of his predecessors were either promoted or dispatched as an ambassador to a major country.
 
Former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Sung-hwan, former Vice Minister of Unification Kim Chun-sig and former operations headquarters chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Kim Yong-hyun also joined the Yoon campaign’s advisory team.
 
Professor of Economics at Seoul National University Kim So-young heads the economic policy advisory team. Six other economic, financial and real estate experts are also working for Yoon. Among them is Kim Kyung-hwan, a professor at Sogang University who once served as the vice minister of land.
 
The 10-member social policy advisory team was chaired by Seoul National University Professor Ahn Sang-hoon. “Ahn had served on the welfare policy evaluation committee of the Roh Moo-hyun administration and worked on the transition team and Blue House advisory team of President Lee Myung-bak,” Chang said.  
 
Seoul National University Professor Na Seung-il chairs a six-member team on education policy. He had served as the vice minister of education in the Park administration.
 
“Lee Seok-joon, former minister for government policy coordination, will oversee the advisory teams and consult with experts to create presidential pledges and policies for Yoon’s campaign,” Chang said.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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