How to change is as crucial as what to change

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How to change is as crucial as what to change

President Yoon Suk Yeol came into office exactly a year ago today. In a meeting Tuesday with reporters covering the presidential office, Yoon stressed that a power shift represents a public desire to change the country and society. “We must look back at how much our nation and society have changed over the past year,” he said. The remarks suggest the president’s focus on changing the way the government is run.

The video clip showing his one year in office was filled with images of the president championing “real peace, not fake one,” “labor reform to break the cartel of mighty unions” and “restoring the nuclear reactor ecosystem.” In the course of the president’s strong drive to differentiate his government from the previous one, our society had to endure a national conflict from the sudden change of governance. The past divide over ideology continued under the conservative administration too. The president could not enjoy the honeymoon period, as seen in his low approval rating stuck in the 30 percent range.

Political pundits attribute it to the problems with implementing his campaign promises even though they are right. People generally support his crusade to re-establish the Korea-U.S. alliance, normalize the off-track Korea-Japan relations and press ahead with the labor, pension and education reforms. But they criticize the president for a lack of communications with the public and a dearth of his ability to empathize with people. A number of appointment fiascoes from his adherence to prosecutors for major posts in the government dealt a critical blow to his reputation as a leader upholding fairness and common sense.

The alleged meddling of his presidential office in the national convention of his People Power Party (PPP) in March to elect the new leader and the never-ending controversy over the mighty power of the presidential office do not help his government or the country at all. The president promised to have dinner with anyone for the country’s sake, but he has not met with any leaders of the Democratic Party (DP) yet.

In a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, Yoon complained about a methodical opposition from the majority DP against any policies or initiatives his government or the PPP want to implement. But Yoon must reflect on what effort he made to persuade the DP. In a meeting with the press, Yoon fortunately said he would change the direction of the government when the need arises.

Yoon has four years left in his office. But time will go fast. We hope he improves governance based on the trial and error of the past year. We also hope he presents a roadmap on the direction for the country in the next four years. It could be better if he can include his vision for the country for the next 30 years.
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