The incoming government sets key policy agenda designed to usher in an era of people’s happiness through a creative economy & wider welfare policies
President Park Geun-hye, who took office on Feb. 25. In the background, the incoming government's
catchphrase reads "Let's Usher in a New Era of Hope."
President Park Geun-hye has wrapped up her government lineup for prime minister, 18 Cabinet ministers, three top-level secretaries, and nine secretaries just in time for her inauguration on Feb. 25.
But even with President Park in office, her new government may have to have a kind of “co-habitation” with a few ministers of the outgoing Lee Myung-bak government remaining on the job for the time being, because the approval of the government reorganization bills and confirmation hearings for her Cabinet nominees have been stalled.
She nominated former seasoned prosecutor Chung Hong-won as the first prime minister for the incoming government on Feb. 8. Her appointment of Prime Minister-designate Chung came belatedly after her initial pick for prime minister of the new government, Kim Yong-joon, the head of the presidential transition committee and ex-chief of the Constitutional Court, bowed out because of alleged scandals involving his family even before a single confirmation hearing for him.
(from left) Prime Minister nominee Chung Hong-won; Hyun Oh-seok, deputy prime minister-strategy & finance minister nominee; Kim Jeong-hoon, minister nominee for the Ministry of Future Creative Science; Seo Nam-soo, education minister nominee; Yun Byung-se, foreign minister nominee; Ryoo Kihl-jae, unification minister nominee; Hwang Kyo-ahn, justice minister nominee; Kim Byung-kwan, defense minister nominee; and Yoo Jeong-bok, security and public administration minister nominee. Yoo Jin-ryong, culture, sports & tourism minister nominee; Lee Dong-phil, agriculture minister nominee; Yoon Sang-jick, minister nominee for the Ministry of Trade , Industry, and Resources; Chin Young of the Saenuri Party, health and welfare minister nominee; Yoon Seong-kyu, environment minister nominee; Phang Ha-nam, labor minister nominee; Cho Yoon-sun, minister nominee for the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family; Suh Seoung-hwan, minister nominee for the Ministry of Land and Transport; and Yoon Jin-sook, minister nominee of the revived Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
Along with Prime Minister-designate Chung, President Park also tapped former Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo as chief of the National Security Office and Park Heung-ryul, ex-Army Chief of Staff, as head of the presidential security service, which has been elevated to the ministerial level.
Jin Young, vice chairman of the presidential transition team, said the incoming president’s pick for prime minister was believed to have shown a high degree of integrity and loyalty for his country, as shown by his 30-year stint as a prosecutor. A native of Hadong, South Gyeongsang Province, Chung is a graduate from Sunggyungwan University Law Department.
President-elect Park Geun-hye meets with ruling and opposition party leaders,
Hwang Woo-yea and Moon Hee-sang to discuss North Korea's nuclear test.
Her picks for the first economic team of the new government comprising of officials who had been with the now-defunct Economic Planning Board (EPB), the de facto cradle of the economic development plan under her father and ex-President Park Chung-hee government, might have her inclined to pursue the growth mode, taking her cue from her father’s success story, political analysts said.
President Park picked Korea Development Institute president Hyun Oh-seok as economic deputy prime minister-strategy & finance minister, who will serve as the economic control tower of the incoming government to handle “Geunhye-nomics.” Korean-American entrepreneur Kim Jeong-hoon, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs and Corporate Strategy is her choice for minister of the newly created Ministry of Future Creative Science; Jin Young, vice chairman of the presidential transition committee, is her choice for minister of health and welfare; and Cho Won-dong, chief of the Korea Institute of Public Finance, was tapped for presidential economic secretary. The success or failure of Geunhye-nomics is in the hands of this foursome.
President-elect Park poses with the heads of metropolitan city and provincial
governments across the nation following their meeting on Jan. 31.
The eye-catcher of the economic team are the duo of Hyun Oh-seok and Cho Won-dong, both of whom had been with the EPB, which is a hint of the appointments in the mind of President Park, who once said at a transition committee meeting that economic resurgence is one of her national policy goals, and she also called for ushering in the “Second Miracle of the Han River.” She emphasized a shift in the economic development paradigm from “fast follower” to “first mover” at a meeting of business leaders on Feb. 20.
President-elect Park talks with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt
Campbell about the North Korean nuclear issue on Jan. 16.
Her nomination of the ex-EPB officials with open-minded and forward-looking attitudes is seen to be more suitable in the context of growth and paradigm shift than officials of the now-defunct Finance Ministry, who tended to have a conservative inclination with a focus on fiscal sustainability. In the same context is President Park’s pick of Kim, the renowned Korean-American venture big shot, to head the Ministry of Future Creative Science. The economic team of the outgoing government was apparently not a big boon to her election campaign. It is no wonder that President-elect Park would want the officials of the EPB faction to take helm of the economic team of the new government, given the fact that “the new wine should be put into the new wineskin,” taking a sharp contrast with the outgoing government, who favored former ranking Finance Ministry officials.
Wrapping up their 46-day mission, the presidential transition committee announced on Feb. 21 a package of national policy goals of the oncoming government, calling for a creative economy centered on job creation; tailored employment welfare; creative education; and a life rich in culture; a safe and cohesive society; and laying a foundation for national reunification.
President-elect Park meets with her U.S. special envoy, Lee Hahn-koo,
the floor leader of the Saenuri Party, who returned from his mission to the United States.
True to President Park’s campaign pledge on welfare for the elderly, the committee said the new government will integrate the operation of the national pension and basic pension from July next year to create the “People’s Happiness Fund” ranging from 40,000 won to 200,000 won for those aged 65 or more on top of their national pension.
The new government will abolish the Central Investigation Department at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, which has become the subject of criticism over allegedly being swayed by those in power. Instead, its functions will be relegated to new departments for special investigation, to be established at district prosecutors’ offices.
President-elect Park poses with Chairman Han Duck-soo of the Korea International
Trade Association (KITA) and other KITA vice chairmen, including GS Caltex
Chmn. Hur Dong-soo and STX Chmn. Kang Duk-soo, as she visited the trade organization on Feb. 20.
The incoming government will be committed to reinforced security and will raise the defense budget higher than the overall government spending increase rate amidst tensions following North Korea’s Feb. 12 nuclear test and their goal of becoming a nuclear weapons state.
President-elect Park Geun-hye chose her long-time foreign policy guru Yun Byung-se as foreign minister of the incoming government on Feb. 13, given the urgency of forming the security line-up following North Korea’s nuclear test. A former career diplomat who served as deputy foreign minister and then senior presidential security from 2006-2008, Yun has been known as Park’s main foreign policy brain and the architect of her campaign platform on related issues.
Yun, 60, is also known to be well versed in U.S. affairs.
Yun will oversee foreign policy and security issues in the new government, together with former Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo, who was named earlier to head the national security office to be newly established at Cheong Wa Dae to deal with security matters.
Ex-Army general Kim Byung-kwan, who served as deputy commander of the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command, was nominated as her defense minister.
Seo Nam-soo, a former education technocrat, was tapped as education minister; former senior prosecutor Hwang Kyo-ahn as justice minister; ruling party lawmaker Yoo Jeong-bok as security & public administration minister; and former cultural affairs technocrat Yoo Jin-ryong as culture minister.
The presidential transition committee announced on Feb. 17 the nominees for the remaining 11 ministerial positions including unification, completing the roster for the 18 highest positions in her government.
The minister-nominee for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Resources is Yoon Sang-jick, who is currently serving as the vice minister for industry and technology at the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
President-elect Park tapped Yoon Jin-sook, the Korea Maritime Institute’s director of marine policy research as the minister-nominee of the revived Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
University of North Korean Studies professor Ryoo Kihl-jae and Korea Rural Economic Institute president Lee Dong-phil were respectively Park’s picks for minister of unification and minister of agriculture.
Park’s spokeswoman Cho Yoon-sun was named the minister of gender equality and family while deputy transition team chief Rep. Chin Young of the Saenuri Party was picked to head the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
Park chose Hanyang University Environmental Engineering Research Institute’s Yoon Seong-kyu as environment minister, while Korea Labor Institute’s Phang Ha-nam was named labor minister.
Yonsei University Prof. Suh Seoung-hwan was nominated as the minister of the Ministry of Land and Transport.
In a related development, President-elect Park Geun-hye, on Feb. 19, tapped long-time aide Lee Jung-hyun to become senior presidential secretary for political affairs.
She named former career diplomat Ju Chul-ki as senior secretary for foreign affairs and national security. Cho Won-dong, chief of the Korea Institute of Public Finance, was picked as economic secretary; Choi Sung-jae, an emeritus professor at Seoul National University (SNU), as labor and welfare secretary; Mo Chul-min, president of Seoul Arts Center, as education and cultural affairs secretary.
Choi Soon-hong, former United Nations Chief Information Technology officer, was nominated as secretary for future strategies.
Huh Tae-yeol, was earlier named presidential chief of staff. He worked as a rank-and-file member of the Cheong Wa Dae secretariat between 1974 and 1979, when the senior Park was in office.