President Moon appoints five new vice ministers

Angela Jung, June 6, 2017, 9:33 a.m.


President Moon Jae-in named five new vice ministers Tuesday while telling an incumbent vice foreign minister to remain in the latest move to form what will truly be his first administration. Lim Sung-nam, the incumbent first vice minister at the foreign ministry, has been asked to continue serving in the post, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

Kim Yong-soo, a vice ministerial-level official at the Korea Communications Commission, has been appointed the second vice minister for science, ICT and future planning, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Soo-hyun told a press briefing.

Suh Choo-suk, a former presidential secretary for unification and security issues, has been appointed a vice defense minister, while Kwon Deok-cheol, an incumbent official at the Ministry of Health and Welfare, has been promoted to the second highest post at his ministry.

Na Jong-min, a former official and spokesman from the culture, sports and tourism ministry, has been appointed the first vice minister of his ministry, while Ryu Hee-in, a retired Air Force pilot who has also worked at the National Security Commission, has been named the vice minister of the Ministry of Public Safety and Security.

Normally, new vice ministers come after new ministers under a new administration, with the president also allowing his or her ministers to pick their own deputies.

However, time is one luxury the Moon Jae-in administration appears not to have.

President Moon came into office on May 10, only one day after his victory in a rare presidential by-election caused by the ouster of his former conservative predecessor Park Geun-hye over a series of corruption allegations.

So far, he has nominated seven new Cabinet members. Only one -- Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon -- has been appointed following a grueling confirmation hearing. Parliamentary hearings for two minister-nominees are set to be held Wednesday, with an additional four scheduled for next week for the rest.

The president still needs to name and appoint another 11 new members of the Cabinet to complete the change of hands from those appointed under the former conservative government, which could take weeks, if not months, considering the time it has taken so far to name and appoint the prime minister.

Park, the Cheong Wa Dae spokesman, noted the presidential official was doing its utmost to verify candidates for its nominees for new ministers, but said such a process takes time.

Meanwhile, the president also named his new chief economic adviser on Sunday.

Kim Hyun-chul, a Seoul National University professor and vice chairman of the Korea Association of Small Business Studies, was named the special adviser to the president.

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