Yoon names national security adviser, 5 senior secretaries
Chang Je-won, chief of staff for the transition period, revealed Yoon's picks for five senior presidential secretaries, National Security Office (NSO) positions and other aides during a press conference at the transition team's office in Tongui-dong, central Seoul.
Kim Sung-han served as a foreign policy adviser to Yoon and head of the foreign affairs and security subcommittee for the presidential transition team. He has been in charge of coordinating Yoon's first summit with U.S. President Joe Biden next month. An expert in U.S. policy and international relations, Kim served as a dean at Korea University's Graduate School of International Studies and a director of the university's Ilmin International Relations Institute. He is also is an alumnus of Daegwang Elementary School, where Yoon attended. Kim served as vice foreign minister in the Lee Myung-bak administration.
"As an authority in the field of foreign affairs and security, who served as second vice foreign minister, he is equipped not only with theoretical but also with policymaking and enforcement capabilities," Chang said on Kim's appointment as director of the NSO.
Kim, he added, was chosen as the right person to oversee the "protection of the safety of the nation and the people by actively responding to domestic and foreign security environments."
The national security adviser post has usually been filled by a defense-related personnel rather than a foreign affairs expert. Kim has maintained the position that Korea should play a more active role on the international stage based on the values of liberal democracy and has supported a robust Seoul-Washington alliance as a backbone of foreign policy.
Kim Tae-hyo, a presidential senior secretary for national security strategy for the Lee Myung-bak administration, was tapped as first deputy director of the NSO, and Shin In-ho, a former presidential risk management officer, as second deputy director of the NSO.
Yoon's presidential office will be downsized from the current "three offices and eight secretaries" structure to one with "two offices and five secretaries." He will keep the national security and the chief of staff offices and scrap the national policy adviser's office.
Former Vice Finance Minister Choi Sang-mok of the Park Geun-hye administration, who heads the transition team's subcommittee on economy, was picked as senior secretary for economic affairs.
Ahn Sang-hoon, a social welfare professor at Seoul National University, was named as senior secretary for social affairs.
Lee Jin-bok, a former three-term-lawmaker, was named senior secretary for political affairs.
Kang Seung-kyoo, a former lawmaker with roots as a newspaper reporter, was tapped as senior secretary for relations with nongovernmental organizations, to oversee outreach to civil societies.
Choi Young-bum, vice president at Hyosung Group and former SBS journalist, was named senior communications secretary.
Kim Yong-hyun, a former operations director at the Joint Chiefs of Staff who served as deputy chief of the presidential office relocation task force in Yoon's transition team, was picked as head of the Presidential Security Service. He is expected to play a key role as the presidential office relocates from the Blue House to the Defense Ministry compound in Yongsan, central Seoul.
Kang In-sun, a former Chosun Ilbo journalist and the transition team's spokesperson for foreign press, was retained as presidential spokesperson.
Kim Dae-ki, previously named as Yoon's chief of staff for the incoming administration, also attended the press conference.
BY SARAH KIM [email@example.com]