Smooth transition in doubt

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Smooth transition in doubt

 After the Blue House showed opposition to President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s plan to move the presidential office to the Ministry of National Defense building in Yongsan, central Seoul, conflict between the outgoing and incoming powers is deepening. In a National Security Council meeting on Monday, the Blue House made clear its aversion to Yoon’s bold plan to relocate the presidential office, including the offices of presidential secretaries and security, before the launch of the new administration on May 10, citing the tight schedule. The Blue House also expressed concerns about a possible security vacuum as a result of the relocation. Park Soo-hyun, the senior secretary for public communication under President Moon Jae-in, said that the commander in chief cannot hand over his jurisdiction over the military until midnight of May 9, his last day in office.

Until Monday morning, the Blue House responded that it will discuss how to help the president-elect realize his promise to bring his administration closer to the public. But after strong resistance from the ruling Democratic Party (DP) and concerns from the conservative front, the Blue House shifted its position overnight. Yoon has made clear his relocation plan. The Blue House can consult with him in a meeting to address any possible problems. But the Moon Blue House nearly refused to submit a motion to a Cabinet meeting to secure the budget needed to carry out the relocation.

The frontal clash between the outgoing and incoming administrations disturb us. After a first meeting scheduled for last Wednesday between Moon and Yoon was canceled due to their disagreements over the issues of pardoning former President Lee Myung-bak before Moon’s term ends, both sides announced they will hold a meeting among lower-level officials and then set a date for a meeting between the two. But now, the issue of relocating the presidential office is fueling friction between the two camps. Moon and Yoon must have a face-to-face meeting to address their differences instead of squabbling from afar.

Many important issues await the president and president-elect in their meeting. Given Yoon’s critical lack of political experience, he needs Moon’s advice as head of state. Both sides of the political aisle must help the two meet and exchange views as soon as possible for a smooth transition.

If the two get together, Yoon can learn from Moon the reasons for the colossal failure of his real estate policy and North Korea’s endless missile provocations despite his persistent appeasement toward Pyongyang. The two must demonstrate a willingness to cooperate on national affairs beyond their past confrontations. Otherwise, the people will only become victims of their diehard stubbornness and, perhaps, pettiness.
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