The Korea Herald


More than 400,000 people sign petitions against move to relocate Blue House

By Yim Hyun-su

Published : March 21, 2022 - 16:26

    • Link copied

The Blue House (Yonhap) The Blue House (Yonhap)
More than 400,000 people have signed petitions against President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s plans to move the presidential office from the current location to the National Defense Ministry’s building in Yongsan, central Seoul.

“The term of office for president is only five years…the public cannot accept spending billions of taxpayer’s money on President-elect Yoon’s office for his single five-year term,” read one petition on the president office’s website which has over 300,000 signs as of 1 p.m. on Monday said.

Another petition on the website with over 100,000 signatures also argued that the relocation will not lead to more communication with the public –- a push back on what Yoon has said as to why the presidential office must be moved elsewhere.

Both petitions were filed on Thursday. The presidential office responds to petitions that collect over 200,000 signatures within 30 days.

The president-elect has criticized Cheong Wa Dae, which sits behind Gyeongbokgung, one of Seoul’s royal palaces, as a “symbol of imperial power” and confirmed his intention to never start his presidency there during a press conference on Sunday. If approved, this would be the first time in South Korean history that a president has gone through with plans to relocate the presidential office.

Yoon’s move has been criticized for economic and security reasons, with some even accusing him of making a decision driven by feng shui. The required budget for the move, which Yoon claimed to be at under 50 billion won ($41.1 million), is also a matter of contention for lacking legal grounds.

His political opponents have also accused him of pushing ahead with his plan without showing efforts to better explain the intention behind the move through holding hearings for instance.

Koh Yong-jin, a senior spokesperson of the Democratic Party of Korea said the process in and of itself has been imperialistic despite Yoon’s claim that he wants to decrease the imperial authority of president by relocating the office.