(3rd LD) Park names KDI chief as deputy premier for economic affairs
(ATTN: ADDS more details, opposition party's comment on nominations in 17th para, last 5 paras, photo)
SEOUL, Feb. 17 (Yonhap) -- President-elect Park Geun-hye named Hyun Oh-seok, the chief of the state-run Korean Development Institute (KDI), as the deputy prime minister in charge of economic affairs of the incoming government and picked ten other ministers on Sunday, completing the formation of a new Cabinet lineup a week away from her inauguration.
In the third and final round of nominations, Park also named North Korean expert Ryoo Kihl-jae as unification minister and Kim Jeong-hoon, an engineering expert and successful businessman, to head the newly created minister of future creation and science.
Yoon Sang-jick was designated as commerce minister; Lee Dong-phil as agriculture minister; Chin Young as welfare minister; Yoon Seong-kyu as environment minister; Phang Ha-nam as labor minister; Cho Yoon-sun as gender equality minister; Suh Seoung-hwan as land minister; and Yoon Jin-sook as maritime affairs minister.
The nominations are subject to parliamentary confirmation hearings, which are likely to take place after Park's inauguration on Feb. 25.
In her organizational shakeup of the incoming government, Park decided to elevate the status of the finance minister to deputy prime minister as part of efforts to promote the finance ministry's function as an economic "control tower."
Hyun had served diverse positions in the finance ministry since 1973, and worked as an economist at the World Bank in 1989.
Unification Minister nominee Ryoo, who studies North Korean issues for more than 20 years, currently works as a professor at Seoul's University of North Korean Studies, and heads the Korean Association of North Korean Studies.
Ryoo also played a role in devising the President-elect's signature North Korean policy guidelines of the so-called Korean peninsula trust process together with the foreign ministry nominee Yun Byung-se.
Park chose entrepreneur Kim, president of Bell Labs and Chief Strategy Officer of Alcatel-Lucent, a global telecommunications equipment company headquartered in Paris, to head the future creation and science ministry, which is one of Park's core campaign pledges designed to combine scientific and technological developments with industry in a way that would spur job creation.
Of the 11 nominees, six were bureaucrats or experts well-versed in their field, which showed Park's long-held principle of cherishing the value of expertise in terms of personnel matters.
Along with deputy premier Hyun, commerce minister nominee Yoon Sang-jick is the incumbent vice minister of the Knowledge Economy Ministry, and environment minister nominee Yoon Seong-kyu has served in high-level posts in relevant ministries for decades. Agricultural minister nominee Lee served on the regulation committee in the agricultural ministry.
Labor minister nominee Phang has studied the field for decades and now works as a senior researcher at the Korea Labor Institute. The maritime affairs minister nominee Yoon Jin-sook is widely known as a top policymaker in the field.
Of Sunday's nominations, six -- Chin, Phang, Cho, Seo, Ryoo and environment minister nominee Yoon -- were close aides to President-elect Park.
Sunday's nominations were the latest in a series of steps to form the government ahead of Park's inauguration. Earlier this week, the president-elect named nominees for six Cabinet ministerial positions, including the foreign and defense ministers.
The announcement of all remaining Cabinet positions came as a surprise, as it was widely expected to be limited to some posts not included in her restructuring plan along with senior secretaries of the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.
Against the earlier media speculation, Park's presidential office staff was not involved, with the transition team officials declining to comment when the lineup would be announced.
Nominations for the presidential chief of staff, nine senior secretaries and 35 others Cheong Wa Dae secretaries should be made. So far, she appointed former Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo to head the national security office to be newly established in the presidential office, which will act as a "control tower" on security matters. She appointed former Army Chief of Staff Park Heung-ryul to the Presidential Security Service.
Park is pressed for time in forming her new government, and concerns have been growing about whether the new government will be formed in time, as her Cabinet selections have been delayed and her government reorganization proposal has yet to be approved by the National Assembly.
"It was an inevitable decision to announce all the nominations today as the approval of the government restructuring plan has been delayed to undermine stable administrative management," said transition team chief Kim Yong-joon.
"I'd like to ask the opposition parties to pass the proposal so as to allow the new government to serve the people," he added.
Park's proposed changes include creating a new ministry to handle science and technology, reviving an old ministry for maritime and fishery affairs and transferring the foreign ministry's trade negotiating functions to the commerce ministry.
Officials of the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) have said that their floor leaders, Lee Hahn-koo and Park Ki-choon, are expected to meet on Sunday to try to narrow differences on the restructuring plan.
But the two parties seem to be on the collision course again over the latest nominations.
"(Park) pushed to announce the nominees to head the ministries that fail to get parliamentary approval for their creation," said DUP spokesman Youn Kwan-suk said.
"It is in clear violation of the National Assembly's legislative power and nothing but threatening to press ahead with the restructuring plan," he added.
Another DUP spokesman Park Yong-jin expressed "deep regrets over the unilateral attitude of administrating state affairs that cast a damp over the already-frozen negotiations between the parties."
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