New PM nominee hard-hitting conservative journalist

By 이현정
  • Published : Jun 10, 2014 - 16:41
  • Updated : Jun 10, 2014 - 16:41
Moon Chang-keuk, President Park Geun-hye's new pick for prime minister, is a former journalist known for his hard-hitting political commentaries that lean conservative.

The 65-year-old joined the JoongAng Ilbo, one of South Korea's major newspapers, in 1975 and spent most of his career writing for the political desk before retiring last year. He has since worked as a chair professor at Seoul's Korea University and a visiting professor at Seoul National University in media studies.

Moon's political commentaries and editorials have often offered a conservative view on key political controversies, a characteristic that could suit the conservative Park administration well but prompt fierce backlash from liberal opposition parties.

In a column written shortly after the suicide of former liberal President Roh Moo-hyun in May 2009, the prime minister nominee clearly expressed his opposition to holding a state funeral for the late president, saying Roh's final action was inappropriate for a public figure.

In March 2010, Moon expressed clear disapproval of the liberal camp's election pledge to provide free school meals, saying the promise was a socialist concept.

However, the nominee has also criticized Park in the past, prompting speculation that Moon could be forthright with the president unlike many of her other aides.

In a column in April 2011, Moon blasted Park, then an influential ruling party figure, for insisting on building an administrative city in the central Chungcheong provinces and an international airport in the southeastern Gyeongsang provinces, saying he did not believe the projects would benefit the nation.

Park's choice of Moon, a native of Cheongju, South Chungcheong Province, also comes amid the ruling party's calls for an influential figure from the region after the opposition party won all four major Chungcheong posts up for grabs in last week's local elections.

Moon, who majored in political science at Seoul National University, also worked as a correspondent in Washington and secretary of Kwanhun Club, a fraternity of senior journalists. (Yonhap)