Who will be Moon’s new chief of staff?

13-Aug-2020 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Cheong Wa Dae named two new senior presidential secretaries, Wednesday, to replace two of the six senior aides who offered their collective resignation last week.

President Moon Jae-in appointed Chung Man-ho, former vice governor for Gangwon Province, as senior secretary for public communication; and Yoon Chang-yul, an official from the prime minister’s office, as senior secretary for social policy, according to presidential spokesman Kang Min-seok.

But there was no mention of presidential chief of staff Noh Young-min, who initiated the offer of resignations on August 7 to take responsibility for the recent situation. Earlier this week, Cheong Wa Dae announced replacements for three other aides. As a result, only the chief of staff and senior secretary for personnel affairs Kim Oe-sook remain among the six aides who offered to resign ? Yoon replaces Kim Yeon-myeong who was not among the six.

The presidential office has yet to clarify whether Moon has accepted Noh’s offer of resignation or whether the President has decided to retain him. Noh has been serving in the post since January 2019 when he was appointed Moon’s second chief of staff after serving as the President’s first Korean ambassador to China.

“As I have said before, we are not able to mention anything further about additional personnel appointments as they are entirely up to the President,” a senior presidential aide told reporters, Wednesday.

But speculations are rising that Noh’s time at Cheong Wa Dae is limited, given that he has already served almost 20 months in the post. His predecessor Im Jong-seok, currently a special advisor to the President for foreign affairs and national security, also served about 20 months before being replaced. Also, Noh has been at the centre of controversy about Cheong Wa Dae’s attempt to curb multiple house ownership among senior secretaries.

Political analysts say now is a good time for a new presidential chief of staff to invigorate the presidential office and assist Moon in achieving policy success in the final phase of his presidency, which ends in May 2022.

The immediate concern of the new chief of staff will be to assuage the concerns of an early lame duck presidency and help the President and Cheong Wa Dae regain public trust amid the rising criticisms against Moon’s policy failures, particularly with housing.

With the worsening public sentiment, fears are rising that the ruling bloc will not be able to remain in power if it keeps up its unilateral way of managing state affairs.

“For the new chief of staff, we want to seek someone with strong leadership who can lay the foundation to successfully regain power,” Rep. Yang Hyang-ja of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) said in a recent media interview. “We need someone with strategy and strong political background who can help the President make sound political judgment and communicate effectively with the National Assembly.”

It is widely expected that Noh’s successor will most likely be Moon’s last chief of staff.

Moon knows all too well about the significance of the final chief of staff for a President, given that he himself served as the last chief of staff to the late former President Roh Moo-hyun from March 2007 until February 2008. “The last chief of staff must also take into consideration the post-retirement affairs of the President,” Moon wrote in his 2011 autobiography “Destiny.”



Category: Korea

Print This Post