President Moon Jae-in stressed Thursday that the South Korean people want a "fundamental change" of the state prosecution accused of having been often politically swayed, as the new chief prosecutor began his two-year tenure.
"(You) are assuming a very important post at a very important time," Moon told Yoon Seok-youl after presenting him a letter of appointment at Cheong Wa Dae.
Yoon is a veteran prosecutor widely regarded as reform-minded and unyielding to outside pressure. He is known for playing a key role in looking into wrongdoings by the two former conservative administrations of Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye.
"The people are hoping that the prosecution will change fundamentally," Moon said, citing the need to break away from the malpractice of using its power and authority for political ends.
Moon, a former human rights lawyer, pointed out that prosecutors' own efforts for internal reform and political neutrality fall short of the public demand.
That's why many people are in support of the government's push for establishing a special probe team on corruption by high-ranking officials and granting police more investigative rights, he said.
The president called for thorough investigation into corruption and other wrongdoings by influential figures, adding the officials of Cheong Wa Dae, the government and the ruling Democratic Party shouldn't be an exception.
In response, the prosecutor general said he feels a heavy sense of responsibility. There have been lots of changes in the role of South Korea's prosecution, depending on "political circumstances and social demand," Yoon noted.
He vowed to keep the "essence" of the prosecution's role and constitutional spirit in mind.
Meanwhile, Cho Kuk, senior secretary to the president for civil affairs and justice, joined the Cheong Wa Dae ceremony. He is said to be a top candidate to be the next justice minister. Cho is expected to quit the Cheong Wa Dae job later this week, with a Cabinet shake-up expected next month. (Yonhap)