All the president's moves are coming along
Yoon is expected to officially move into his office on the second floor of the remodeled Defense Ministry building after he returns from a NATO Summit in Madrid at the end of this month. Since his inauguration last month, he has been working out of a temporary office on the fifth floor.
Ahead of the upcoming move, Yoon hosted a housewarming event at the Yongsan Presidential Office on Sunday inviting 400 people including small business owners hurt by the pandemic and Afghans evacuated to Korea last year. Among the attendees were 100 children.
The event was held on the lawn in front of the former Defense Ministry building.
Executives and employees of companies based in Yongsan, such as Amorepacific and LG U+, LS were invited to the event. This included some 30 small local business and wineries who prepared food stalls and flea markets for the event.
"I am very grateful that you allowed me, and the staff of the presidential office, to move into Yongsan, and for welcoming us so heartily," said Yoon." I will work even harder for the citizens of Yongsan, Seoul and the Korean people."
The event coincided with the last day of a pilot opening of a public park in front of the presidential office, the site of a former U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) base. The park had been opened on a trial basis by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport from June 10 to Sunday.
First lady Kim did not attend the event because she had a prior engagement, according to the presidential office. With the first lady taking on more public activities in recent days, there have been ongoing discussions on whether there is a need to revive an office to handle her affairs more formally. Yoon had previously shut down an office handling the first lady's activities, according to a campaign pledge.
But that has also resulted in controversy over how to separate Kim's public and private activities.
A senior presidential official told reporters Sunday, "The construction of the second floor main office is almost complete. It's not at a stage where the president can work there right now, but he will be moving downstairs soon."
The move had initially been expected to take place Sunday but was delayed.
Construction of a new briefing room and a reception area for dignitaries before summits has also been completed.
Unlike any of his predecessors, Yoon has been commuting to work from his private home in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul, since his inauguration on May 10.
The former foreign minister's residence in Hannam-dong, minutes by car from Yoon's office, is undergoing the final stages of remodeling to become the new presidential residential complex. It is a total of 420 pyeong (1,388 square meters), with the main residence being 160 pyeong. It will have reception rooms and a banquet hall. It will be half the size of the former Blue House presidential residence, which was 812 pyeong.
In line with his promise to be more accessible to the media, Yoon has been taking questions from reporters every morning when he arrives at his office.
Starting Monday, Yoon began taking reporters' questions from the first floor entrance rather than the basement entrance.
Last week, the Yoon government announced that it will stick with the name Yongsan Presidential Office for the time being. The presidential office naming committee deliberated on a shortlist of five names after holding a public contest in April and receiving 30,000 submissions. The committee ultimately decided that none of the five names were popular enough, and that each had flaws.
BY SARAH KIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]