Justice minister nominee Park Beom-kye heads to his office on Monday. (Yonhap)
Justice minister nominee Park Beom-kye on Monday vowed to carry on prosecution reform, a contentious topic that has triggered backlash from prosecutors, and asked for their close cooperation.
"I understand the reason why President Moon Jae-in appointed me was to entrust me with the role of a closing pitcher for prosecution reform," he told reporters on his way to work to prepare for his confirmation hearing, the schedule of which has yet to be determined.
He said conditions are ripe for finalizing prosecution reform given the Moon government's achievements on that front -- most notably the launch of the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking officials (CIO), a non-prosecution body in charge of investigating corruption by senior public officials. The scope of the prosecution's investigations has been also limited to certain crimes such as financial irregularities as well as corruption by elected officials and police officers.
Park, however, counted "a rigid top-down culture of the prosecution service" and lack of communication as remaining tasks to tackle.
"A diverse democracy should allow different opinions and communication with the outside world," he said, emphasizing the need for the prosecution to open to changes and different voices.
Citing a gap between justice sought by prosecutors and the general public, he also stressed pursuing justice that people from all walks of life could relate to.
He also expressed regrets over allegations that he failed to fully disclose his net worth.
Last week, President Moon nominated Park, a three-term ruling party lawmaker, as the new justice minister to replace incumbent Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae. She had tendered her resignation following almost a yearlong political tug-of-war with Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl over prosecution reform. (Yonhap)