Yoon to commute for one month due to new house renovations
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol will commute to the new presidential office in central Seoul from his private home for about a month after his inauguration while his new official residence is renovated, transition team officials said Sunday.
Remodeling of the current residence of the foreign minister, which was announced as Yoon’s pick for his official abode on Sunday, will commence upon the new president’s inauguration on May 10.
Yoon’s spokesperson Bae Hyun-jin said in a press briefing Sunday that the foreign minister’s residence was selected as the new presidential residence in consideration of various factors, including time, security and related costs.
Bae also denied media reports that the decision was made after Yoon’s wife Kim Keon-hee visited the foreign minister's residence, saying that Kim made the visit after the decision was already made.
Remodeling of the foreign minister’s residence is not expected to take long as the previous foreign ministers have renovated the residence during their stays, according to a transition team official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The foreign minister’s residence is one of six official ministerial residences in the Hannam-dong area and is close to the Defense Ministry compound in Yongsan District where the presidential office is due to be relocated.
Although the transition committee initially considered moving to the residence of the Army Chief of Staff, it was eventually found to be unsuitable given its condition, which was described as “too old and run down,” to accommodate the necessary security facilities for the president.
The greater cost and time required to renovate the Army Chief of Staff residence, built in 1975, also led to it being ruled out of the lineup.
With renovation on the foreign minister’s residence expected to take a month after Yoon’s inauguration, the president-elect plans to commute from his private home in Seocho District, southern Seoul, across the Han River to the new presidential office until work on his residence is complete.
Work on the residence can only begin once current Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong vacates the premises.
“The incumbent foreign minister will be using the residence until May 10,” the transition team’s senior deputy spokesperson Won Il-hee said. “It is unlikely that the president-elect will move in right away.”
Won added that it was “inevitable” that Yoon would “commute to the new presidential office from his home in Seocho District” for “the time being.”
“We will be mainly taking the Banpo Bridge on our commute as it is the closest one to Seocho District. The route could change depending on the situation,” a transition official said.
Yoon’s commute during the month-long renovation of the foreign minister’s residence will likely cause severe traffic problems as roads are blocked for the presidential motorcade.
The Banpo Bridge carries a major motorway across the Han River that leads directly from the bustling Express Bus Terminal in the affluent Seocho District to the Namsan No. 3 Tunnel, which emerges in the downtown Jung District.
BY MICHAEL LEE [email@example.com]