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Yoon to start his five-year term with JCS briefing, inauguration ceremony

First Cabinet meeting scheduled for Thursday as hearings remain unfinished

President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol (Yonhap)
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol (Yonhap)
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol takes office on Tuesday morning, starting a new chapter of South Korea for the next five years.

Officials said Monday that Yoon will start his term as the 20th president of South Korea at the underground bunker of his new presidential office in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul. He will receive a briefing from the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the new commander-in-chief for the South Korean armed forces.

The underground bunker will serve as the situation room for the national crisis management center, which is a meeting place for the presidential National Security Council. The center was previously located in an underground floor of Cheong Wa Dae, but was moved to Yongsan-gu under Yoon’s directive to relocate the presidential office.

At the same time that Yoon receives his briefing, a bell-ringing ceremony will be held at the Bosingak Pavilion in central Seoul to officially mark the start of Yoon’s five-year term.

The inauguration ceremony for Yoon is to be held at the National Assembly at 11 a.m. Tuesday, where Yoon will give his first speech as the president. The speech is reportedly centered on revitalizing the Korean economy and growing the country’s presence in the international community.

Yoon will skip a car parade, and instead visit a senior welfare center and a children’s park near his Yongsan-gu office after the inauguration ceremony. A small congratulatory event is also scheduled in front of his residence in Seocho-gu, southern Seoul.

He is scheduled to exchange greetings and hold meetings with foreign delegations at his office before attending a celebratory event set for him at the National Assembly in the afternoon. Yoon will finish his first day as the president by hosting a supper with foreign dignitaries and leading government and business officials at Hotel Shilla in Jung-gu, Seoul.

Yoon is likely to hold his first Cabinet meeting Thursday to approve an extra budget proposal on compensating small-business owners hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Finance Ministry is planning to announce a proposal of up to 36 trillion won ($28 billion) for the measure after Yoon takes office Tuesday.

Yet the Cabinet meeting is to be attended by some appointees of the Moon Jae-in administration, as confirmation hearings for Yoon’s ministerial nominees are yet to be finalized at the National Assembly.

Prime Minister nominee Han Duck-soo’s hearing schedule is yet to be concluded, as are the schedules for several other minister nominees picked by Yoon. Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho is expected to serve in the prime minister role instead of Han for the time being.

Yoon originally promised to hold his first Cabinet meeting in Sejong, but the holdup in the National Assembly is likely to force the meeting to take place in Seoul.

Public opinion toward Yoon has slightly recovered in recent days after his ratings in opinion polls took a dive due to controversies surrounding some of his ministerial nominees.

According to a Realmeter survey of 2,014 voters aged 18 or above conducted from last Monday to Friday, 51.4 percent of respondents said they believe Yoon will do well in his presidential term, up 0.7 percentage points from the previous week’s iteration.

It is the second-highest support rating that Yoon has received since winning the presidential race in early March. The highest rate was seen in the second week of March, when 52.7 percent expected Yoon to do well on his job, and the lowest was seen in the fourth week of the same month at 46 percent.

Yoon will be commuting to and from his Seocho-gu residence until the Foreign Minister’s official residence in Yongsan-gu is remodeled for Yoon and his wife to use.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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