Published : 2013-03-15 15:40
Updated : 2013-03-15 18:33
President Park Geun-hye named the heads of 18 government offices Friday including the most powerful agencies of the prosecution, police and tax service.
Senior prosecutor Chae Dong-wook was nominated for the public prosecutor general and Kim Duk-joong, chief of the Jungbu Regional Tax Office, to head the National Tax Service. Busan police chief Lee Sung-han, was named to lead the National Police Agency. The three are subjected to go through a parliamentary confirmation hearing.
Chae, 54, now head of the Seoul High Prosecutors’ Office, has long been cited for a strong candidate for the top prosecution post. He is known to have extensive experience investigating high-profile corruption.
“(I) feel a sense of heavy responsibility to be nominated to lead the prosecution at a time when it is faced with a crisis and needs to regain people’s trust,” Chae said in a statement, adding that he will humbly prepare for the confirmation hearing.
Choi Soo-hyun, senior deputy governor of the Financial Supervisory Service, was promoted to its chief and Vice Defense Minister Lee Young-gol was named to head the Defense Acquisition Program Administration.
Hwang Chul-joo, chairman of the Korea Venture Business Association, was tapped as chief of the Small and Medium Business Administration, and Baek Un-chan, a senior finance ministry official, was named as head of the Korea Customs Service, the spokesman said.
On Friday’s appointment, Park promoted deputy heads of government agencies to top posts including Min Hyung-jong of the Public Procurement Service; Lee Il-soo of the Korea Meteorological Administration; Kim Young-min of the Korean Intellectual Property Office; Kim Suk-kyoon of the Korea Coast Guard and Lee Chung-jae of the Multifunctional Administrative City Construction Agency.
“By putting importance on expertise, (we) tried to promote deputy heads from the offices and bring in related experts from outside,” presidential spokesman Yoon Chang-jung said.
The appointment also included scholars and experts in the related fields.
The president appointed Park Hyung-Soo, director of the Korea Institute of Public Finance, to head of Statistics Korea, Byun Young-sub, archeology art history professor at Korea University to lead the Cultural Heritage Administration and Shin Won-sop, forest science professor at Chungbuk National University, to head the Korea Forest Service.
Lee Yang-ho, a senior official at the agriculture ministry, was also named to head the Rural Development Administration, Park Chang-myung, visiting professor at Kyeongsang University to lead the Military Manpower Administration and Nam Sang-ho, disaster prevention professor at Daejeon University as the chief of the National Emergency Management Agency.
Earlier in the day, Busan police chief Lee was recommended as the new commissioner of the National Police Agency. Lee, 57, is set to replace Kim Ki-yong who had been widely expected to retain his job.
The decision was made at an emergency meeting of the seven-member National Police Commission and delivered to the presidential office through the Ministry of Public Administration and Security.
The president will officially appoint the new police chief after a confirmation hearing at the National Assembly, which does not have a veto power.
“(I) feel a great deal of responsibility to be nominated for the post that takes a difficult and important task,” Lee said. “(I) will do my best to eradicate ‘the four evils’ (which are included in) the new state philosophy,” he said.
A native of Seoul, Lee graduated from Dongkuk University with a bachelor’s degree in police administration. He joined the police in 1983 and served various posts including foreign affairs bureau chief and head of provincial police agency for North Chungcheong Province.
Later in the afternoon, Park met with leaders of the ruling Saenuri Party at Cheong Wa Dae to discuss ways to resolve the political standoff over her government reorganization bill.
“The president had asked both the ruling and opposition parties for a meeting at Cheong Wa Dae to try to narrow their differences in pending issues. But the DUP said it will not attend the meeting unless the Saenuri Party accepts its demand,” the presidential spokesman said prior to the meeting.
The rival parties have been locking horns over the new government reorganization plans, namely whether the Future Planning and Science Ministry should take on the role of overseeing cable channels and other broadcasting outlets from the watchdog Korea Communication Commission.
The opposition party has strongly opposed Park’s idea saying that it would put broadcasting firms under state control. The president denied the claim.
The parliamentary impasse has obviously affected the confirmation process for minister-nominees.
After hearings, parliamentary committees refused to adopt assessment reports for Defense Minister-nominee Kim Byung-kwan and Financial Minister-nominee Hyun Oh-seok.
Despite resistance from the opposition party and skepticism among some Saenuri members, Park is likely to appoint the two next week. Park reportedly decided to go ahead and formally install both controversy-ridden nominees to the post to cope with rising tension with North Korea and a global economic slowdown.
According to the relevant laws, the president can finalize an appointment of a Cabinet member if the 20-day period is passed after the nomination bill is sent to the Assembly regardless of the parliamentary decision.
The opposition DUP continued to attack the two minister-nominees on Friday, saying they are not qualified to take the key posts.
“Minister-nominee Hyun can be described as man lacking in belief, capability, responsibility and leadership,” Rep. Seol Hoon of DUP said. “(If the president) continues to go with Kim as well as Hyun, Park will pass on the burden to state affairs,” he added.
Cabinet ministers and senior presidential secretaries will hold a workshop Saturday, the presidential office said.
The meeting will be attended by about 60 officials including Prime Minister Chung Hong-won, all government ministers, vice ministers and senior presidential secretaries, presidential spokesman Yoon Chang-jung said.
Senior officials will share the vision of the new government’s philosophy in state affairs, exchange ideas to implement major state-led project and build teamwork, he said.
By Cho Chung-un