Finance minister appointed; Moon appeals for foreign minister nominee

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President Moon Jae-in on Friday appointed Kim Dong-yeon as deputy prime minister cum finance minister and appealed for the opposition-dominated legislature’s approval of Foreign Minister nominee Kang Kyung-wha, citing an imminent Korea-US summit.

The appeal came as the National Assembly cleared Kim’s confirmation process, while leaving out nominees for three other key posts.

President Moon Jae-in (left) and deputy prime minister cum finance minister Kim Dong-yeon (right) (Yonhap)

“As we all know, nominee Kang and her credentials have long been approved by the international society. She served as close staff to three former and incumbent UN secretary generals,” Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Park Soo-hyun said in a briefing.

“We ask for (the parliament’s) help so that she may use her expertise in the international society to open new doors for (South Korea’s) diplomacy.” This appeal to the parliament came at the request of the president himself, the spokesperson explained.

Three opposition parties, controlling 167 seats of the currently 299-member parliament, have formed a united front against the former ranking UN official, citing ethical lapses.

Of the three, two conservative blocs also oppose Fair Trade Commission chairman nominee Kim Sang-jo and the Constitutional Court chief justice nominee Kim Yi-su. The remaining one — centrist People’s Party — said it will decide its stance at a general assembly of its 40 lawmakers slated for Monday.

Though ministerial appointments do not require parliamentary approval, President Moon has so far refrained from pushing ahead with his personnel plan against the opposition camp’s will. The court president nominee must pass a full floor vote at the parliament.

The Blue House alluded that it may consider a forceful appointment as a last resort at least in Kang’s case, pressed by the Korea-US summit timeline.

The event is slated to take place in Washington DC in late June, marking the first encounter of Moon and his US counterpart Donald Trump since the two took office earlier this year.

“There have been such precedents (of the president appointing a Cabinet nominee opposed by the parliament) under the former Park Geun-hye administration, and we are currently looking into all possible options,” a Cheong Wa Dae official.

President Moon wasted little time formally appointing Kim Dong-yeon as the economic chief official, after a parliamentary committee cleared him for the job.

Kim was given the letter of appointment on Friday afternoon and is expected to take the oath of office Monday.

Moon also named three new vice ministers in ministries of finance, culture and construction.

Also, President Moon is scheduled to deliver a speech at the National Assembly on Monday, urging for the passage of an extra budget bill seeking to create new jobs in the public sector. With the Cabinet appointment blueprint in the current deadlock, expectations are building up that Moon may reiterate his call for the endorsement of the pending nominees as well.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)

Source : The Korea Herald
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