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[Newsmaker] Kim Jeong-hoon, patriot or scapegoat?

The obstacles were too many and the pressure was building up, fast. In the end, Kim Jeong-hoon admitted his defeat.

Kim, yet another embattled nominee for the Park Geun-hye Cabinet, stepped down on Monday after being pummeled over his dual citizenship status.

As head of Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs and Corporate Strategy, Kim excelled in his field and touted extensive global ― if somewhat U.S.-oriented ― expertise.

He certainly seemed to fit the bill for the new ministry created under Park to spearhead growth and meet the new challenges ahead. 
Kim Jeong-hoon (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Kim Jeong-hoon (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)

If only he had known that he may one day receive an offer from his home country to join the Cabinet, he might have thought twice about becoming a U.S. citizen, despite the fact the decision made all the sense in the world at the time.

He then hurriedly tried to become a full-fledged Korean, even resolving to pay up to 100 billion won in expatriation taxes, but the public was still skeptical.

If it had been more about his past work with the CIA, it may have made more sense. Kim, as said by U.S. news reports, played a pivotal role in information gathering for America’s Central Intelligence Agency.

While the Park administration is likely to have sought this very experience, experts have raised concerns as to the potential conflict his appointment could cause between the two allies.

On the other hand, his certifications and qualifications were solid, he had no criminal record, and if his words are anything to go by, Kim seemed to have a patriotic heart beating inside him.

Yet, that also was not enough.

The question now being asked is: Will there ever be another Kim, another globally trained professional who would risk serving in the Korean bureaucracy when it demands so much personal pain and ordeals?

By Kim Ji-hyun (jemmie@heraldcorp.com)
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