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Moon reshuffles for the economy

Slew of appointments meant to demonstrate government’s resolve
Dec 15,2018
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From left: Lee Ho-seung, Kim Hak-do, Koo Yun-cheol, Mun Mi-ock
President Moon Jae-in appointed seven new vice ministers and nine vice ministerial-level officials on Friday in what the Blue House explained was a show of resolve to revitalize the economy with a “dynamic government.”

Never has Moon appointed this many vice ministers or vice ministerial-level officials at one time since coming into office in May 2017.

Among the newly appointed were Lee Ho-seung, former Blue House secretary for job planning, who became first vice minister of economy and finance; Koo Yun-cheol, director general of the Budget Office at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, who became second vice minister of economy and finance; and Kim Hak-do, president of the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology, who was made vice minister of SMEs and Startups.

Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said in a press briefing Friday that the appointments reflected Moon’s desire to create a dynamic government that can “infuse life into the economy” and enable members of the general public to personally feel a positive change.

For Moon, whose approval ratings now hover in the 40s, his lowest ever, it was the latest in a series of steps to show he cares about the economy, as analysts and rivals alike blame his income-led growth policy for costing hundreds of thousands of jobs in demographic groups that supported him in his presidential bid.

In mid-November, Moon named Hong Nam-ki, former chief of the Office for Government Policy Coordination at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, his new finance minister and deputy prime minister for economic affairs. Hong officially started his job Monday.

Among Friday’s 16 new appointees, three were Moon’s secretaries in the Blue House, including Lee; Mun Mi-ock, secretary for science and technology who became first vice minister of science and ICT; and Cha Young-hwan, secretary for economic policy, who was named second vice minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.

Blue House spokesman Kim explained that the president hoped the appointees would “go out into the field in order to realize [Moon’s] will.” An announcement on their successors at the Blue House will be forthcoming, Kim continued.

Vice ministers also changed for the Ministry of Interior and Safety, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as well as the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Other governmental organizations with new vice ministerial-level members were the Ministry of Personnel Management, Public Procurement Service, National Fire Agency, Rural Development Administration, Ministry of Patriots & Veterans Affairs, Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, National Agency for Administrative City Construction as well as the Personal Information Protection Commission.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]