New presidential office doesn't get a new name after all
The presidential office naming committee reached its decision after a meeting deliberating on a shortlist of five names earlier in the day. The decision took into consideration an online public survey and the views of a panel of judges.
The committee concluded that none of the five proposed names were appealing enough.
The names on the shortlist were: People's House, Gukmin Cheongsa, Mineum Cheongsa, Bareunnuri and Itaewon-ro 22.
Kang In-sun, Yoon's spokesperson, said in a press briefing Tuesday evening, "After a final meeting and discussions today, the presidential office naming committee decided not to recommend a new name."
Instead, it will adopt the name that has been casually used to refer to the new presidential office based on its location in Yongsan District in central Seoul.
With his inauguration on May 10, Yoon moved the presidential office into the Defense Ministry compound in Yongsan as a part of a pledge to return the Blue House compound to the public and bring the presidential office closer to the people.
The naming committee received over 30,000 submissions in a public contest since mid-April. On June 3, the committee announced the final five candidates and launched an online survey that ran through Thursday.
The name "Gukminui jib (People's House)" was a choice President Yoon Suk-yeol initially mentioned as a possibility. The name signified that the "presidential office is a venue open to all, where the people are the owners," according to the naming committee.
"Gukmin Cheongsa" meant the People's Government Office, signifying it is a public space for the people. "Cheongsa" means government office, but the Chinese characters are a play on "thinking of the people."
"Itaewon-ro 22" was a simple reference to the address of the presidential compound to signify "genuine communication with the people by using the street name address used by all citizens." It also refers to the year of the launch of the new presidential office in Yongsan, 2022.
"Mineum Cheongsa," or Mineum Government Office, derived from Chinese characters meaning "people" and "voice" and signified "listening to the public's voice." "Bareunnuri" translates to "righteous world."
Itaewon-ro 22 and the People's Government Office were said to be the most popular choices. Itaewon-ro 22, leading with 32.1 percent of votes, was especially popular among people in their 20s and 30s.
In the press conference, Kang noted that none of the five nominations received a majority of the votes in the online survey, and also noted there were criticisms of each of the five.
The old presidential office, the Blue House, in northern Gwanghwamun in central Seoul, was opened to the public on May 10, the day of Yoon's inauguration. The name in Korean was Cheong Wa Dae, literally "Pavilion of Blue Tiles," referring to the blue tile roof of the old presidential building, and was used for some 60 years.
"The committee decided to take more time until a suitable name naturally comes up, rather than hastily selecting a name as it has to be used for a long time once it is chosen," said Kang.
BY SARAH KIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]