President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday named South Korean Ambassador to China Noh Young-min as his new chief of staff. He also appointed two new senior secretaries. The changes were announced by Im Jong-seok, the outgoing chief of staff.
The new chief of staff, who begins his duties Wednesday, is considered one of Moon’s closest associates, having held key posts in Moon’s 2017 election campaign and also in 2012, when he lost to ousted former President Park Geun-hye.
Noh Young-min, newly named chief of staff, speaks at a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday. Yonhap
Before Noh was named ambassador to China in October 2017, he served three terms in the National Assembly. During his final parliamentary term, he chaired a parliamentary committee on trade and industry.
“I am a person with many shortcomings. I intend to make up for those shortcomings by listening,” Noh said.
“I promise that I will listen, regardless of the subject, person or policy.”
Noh added that the role of the entire presidential staff, from the chief of staff down to the lowest-level official, was to assist the president, and that he would bear this in mind in carrying out his duties.
According to Cheong Wa Dae officials, Noh’s experience as ambassador to China and as chair of the trade and industry committee qualifies him well to support Moon in the tasks the government intends to focus on this year.
Moon has repeatedly stressed the economy this year, and on Tuesday at the first Cabinet meeting of the year he again spoke of the importance of peace.
In the reshuffle, Moon also named Kang Gi-jung as his senior secretary for political affairs, replacing Han Byung-do.
As with Noh, Kang served three terms in the National Assembly. During his time in parliament, he served as a member of the supreme council and as headed policy councils for parties that would eventually come to be known as the ruling Democratic Party.
For the post of senior secretary for public relations, Moon chose former journalist Yoon Do-han, who used to work for the broadcaster MBC, to replace Yoon Young-chan. Yoon Young-chan was previously a reporter with the daily Dong-A Ilbo and worked in public relations for the portal site Naver.
Han and Yoon Young-chan are reportedly stepping down ahead of next year’s general elections, when they are said to be seeking National Assembly seats.
Moon is reportedly planning to replace officials in a number of other posts and to carry out a Cabinet reshuffle in the coming weeks.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org