South Korean President Appoints Lee Nak Yon As Prime Minister

John Myung, May 11, 2017, 10:28 a.m.

President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday tapped South Jeolla Province Governor Lee Nak-yon as prime minister and career spy Suh Hoon as head of the National Intelligence Service. Both appointments require National Assembly confirmation. Moon also appointed former lawmaker Im Jong-seok (51) as his chief of staff and Ju Young-hoon (61), a former official at the Presidential Security Service, to head the security team.

In his first press conference since his election win, Moon reiterated his pledge not to pick a prime minister from his own home province of South Gyeongsang in an effort to break the regional power struggles endemic in Korean politics.

Lee (65) has a law degree from the prestigious Seoul National University and worked as a journalist for the Donga Ilbo until he went into politics, where he has been a lawmaker for four consecutive terms.

He is not part of Moon's faction in the Minjoo Party and has good relations with lawmakers across the aisle.

Suh (63) hails from Seoul and worked at the NIS for 28 years until retiring in 2008. He played a key role in arranging former President Kim Dae-jung's 2000 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and also in ex-president Roh Moo-hyun's inter-Korean summit in 2007.

Im, the new chief of staff, is a former lawmaker who worked on Moon's campaign. Ju was a bodyguard for Roh and his wife Kwon Yang-sook.

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