Blue House defends president’s personal trainer

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Blue House defends president’s personal trainer


High-profile fitness trainer Yun Jeon-chu made headlines in mid-August when it was belatedly announced by the presidential office that she had been hired as a high-ranking official at the Blue House with the launch of the Park Geun-hye administration in February 2013.

The presidential office said at the time that there was no problem with hiring and assigning Yun, 34, who has previously trained celebrities like top actress Jun Ji-hyun, to the Office of the First Lady.

Because President Park does not have a spouse, the office has essentially become a personal wing.

But Yun found herself in the media spotlight once again yesterday following a report by a local daily that found that the Blue House had bought nearly 100 million won ($95,265) worth of fitness equipment needed to install a Pilates studio.

The purchase was apparently made with Blue House funds and coincided with Yun’s appointment, raising suspicions that the presidential office was abusing the use of the Office of the First Lady.

Regarding the report yesterday, presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook said that Yun is performing various roles covering public relations and civil complaints, as well as certain secretarial duties that would be inappropriate for male employees.

“Our official stance on Ms. Yun remains unchanged,” Min said. “You can consider her a presidential secretary.”

Yun has been spotted before by Blue House correspondents closely accompanying President Park on overseas state trips, carrying the president’s makeup box or clothes.

However, Yun’s role appears to be far removed from the vow the president made when taking helm, when she stated that she would use the Office of the First Lady as a “channel to take care of the underprivileged.”

Rep. Choi Min-hee, a member of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, argued yesterday in the presence of Presidential Chief of Staff Kim Ki-choon at a parliamentary that Yun’s position was too high when taking into account her age and past career experience.

The lawmaker pointed out that Yun is the youngest official in history to assume a grade 3-level position, which is just below the vice-ministerial level. The next youngest official on the same level is 42 years old, Rep. Choi said.

“Given that experts say that the fitness gear the Blue House purchased required assistance from a third person, I strongly suspect Yun’s primary role is maintaining the president’s figure,” he said.


BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]




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