South Korea’s newly elected President Moon Jae-in appointed five new ministers on Sunday, tapping Kim Sang-kon, 68, a former school superintendent of Gyeonggi Province, as the new education minister, who doubles as a vice prime minister for social affairs.
Others announced by the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae are defense minister-nominee Song Young-moo, 68, justice minister-nominee Ahn Kyong-whan, 69, labor minister-nominee Cho Dae-yop, 57, and environment minister-nominee Kim Eun-kyung, 61.
The new minister-nominees were widely expected as they served as chief pledge campaigners for Moon during the election period in each area of education, labor and defense.
The latest appointment was resumed in about two weeks after Moon announced his picks for Kim Boo-kyum, four-term lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party, as new interior minister.
Kim Sang-gon, who was deeply involved in the formation of Moon`s campaign pledges for education, has pushed forward various education policies aimed at bringing fair education opportunities for everyone, such as providing universal free school meals amid criticism at his superintendent post.
Former Chief of Naval Operations Song Young-moo was a core defense policy advisor for Moon during the election, building a strategy for balanced development of land, air and sea forces.
Ahn Kyong-whan, the nominee for the new justice minister, is a liberal legal expert who has long advocated for human rights and worked at a policy advisory panel for reforming the prosecutors’ office. His appointment is expected to bring changes and overhaul the state prosecutor`s office in a smooth manner.
Moon has been focusing on appointing vice ministers to minimize any policy vacuum following a delay in parliamentary confirmation for previous minister nominees.
The new president has so far named 23 vice ministers, including Han Sung-hee, the new chief of the National Tax Service (NTS).
By Kang Gye-man and Oh Soo-hyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]