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President Moon to name new chief of staff, secretaries

All Headlines 09:28 January 08, 2019

SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in was set to replace some of his secretaries, including the chief of staff, on Tuesday, his office Cheong Wa Dae said, amid a controversy that is apparently eating away at his job approval rating.

The new chief of staff and senior secretaries will be announced later in the day in a press conference, Cheong Wa Dae said.

Earlier reports suggested the president will likely replace his top secretary for political affairs Han Byung-do and secretary for public relations Yoon Young-chan.

The minor, yet high-profile reshuffle comes as the president will soon begin his third year of his single five-year term. Moon took office in May 2017.

However, it also follows a claimed confession from a former inspector that the presidential office has illegally spied on civilians, politicians and former government officials.

The former inspector, Kim Tae-woo, has also claimed that such illegal information he had obtained at the order of his former superiors may have reached as high as the presidential chief of staff, Im Jong-seok.

Cheong Wa Dae denies the accusation, saying Kim had rather been warned against spying on civilians and that any such information he obtained had been discarded right away.

Still, Moon's approval rating began to plummet almost instantly, falling for four consecutive weeks to a record low of 45.9 percent in a weekly survey conducted by Realmeter. It rebounded slightly to 46.4 percent last week.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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