President Moon Jae-in holds his first press briefing after inauguration at the Blue House on Wednesday. From left: Moon, Prime Minister nominee Lee Nak-yon, National Intelligence Service chief nominee Suh Hoon, and presidential chief of staff Im Jong-seok. [Photo by Kim Jae-hoon]
South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in going straight to work upon taking oath in the following day of the snap election Wednesday nominated Lee Nak-yon, governor of South Jeolla, as the first prime minister of his administration, speaking highly of his quality to bring harmony and unity to the country
Moon also named Suh Hoon, former third deputy director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), to head the central intelligence agency. He picked Im Jong-seok, student activist-turned former lawmaker, as presidential chief of staff, and Joo Young-hoon, former director of intelligence and security at the Presidential Security Service who served former president Roh Moo-hyun, as his security chief.
The nominations were personally announced by Moon Wednesday afternoon after the inauguration of the new leader who comfortably won the 19th presidential election held on Tuesday.
Prime Minister nominee Lee - who was born in Yeonggwang County in South Jeolla in 1952 - studied law at Seoul National University and worked as a journalist at daily newspaper Dong-A Ilbo. The four-time lawmaker served various positions for the Democratic Party including floor leader, spokesperson, and secretary general.
“(Prime Minister nominee) Lee is the right person to promote harmony and unity,” President Moon said in a briefing. Moon added that the nomination signals fair appointment as he is a talented figure from the Honam (Gwangju and South and North Jeolla provinces) region.
The choice of cabinet head drew close attention as Moon had promised to share the mighty presidential power with the prime minister and other cabinet members for more responsible administration.
“Our first attention would be to increase jobs,” Lee told reporters after being introduced by the president.
NIS chief nominee Suh - who was born in Seoul in 1954 - studied education at Seoul National University before obtaining a master’s degree at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a division of Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C., and a doctorate of political science at Dongguk University. Suh played an important role in the setting up summit talks between South and North Korea. He previously served as third deputy director of NIS and head of information management at National Security Council. Suh is currently a visiting professor on North Korean studies at Ewha Womans University.
President Moon said that Suh was behind two landmark inter-Korean summits in the past and supported them as a working-level official, making him well-equipped in dealing North Korea issues. He said Suh will help bring reform within NIS.
Suh said it would be important for the two Korean summits to meet to settle the nuclear issue. Moon in his inauguration speech said he could go to Pyongyang if necessary to stop the nuclear weapons program.
Im, who has been appointed as presidential chief of staff, was born in Jangheung, South Jeolla, in 1966. Im was former student activist who headed the National Council of Student Representatives. As a two-term lawmaker, Im served as secretary general of Democratic Party and Seoul’s deputy mayor for state affairs.
Moon said that Im, who is relatively young, will help create an environment within the Blue House that does not seek to control over or dominate others.
Joo, who was named as head of Presidential Security Service, was born in South Chungcheong in 1956. He studied Arabic at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and attended the graduate school of public administration at Yonsei University.
By Kang Gye-man
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