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Moon set to ask lawmakers to hold hearing on unification minister nominee

Politics 11:40 July 08, 2020

SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in will soon request formally that lawmakers hold confirmation hearings on his picks to serve as unification minister and head of the state intelligence agency, an official said Wednesday.

Moon plans to submit related documents to the National Assembly within the day, which ushers in the start of a parliamentary process on the nominations of Lee In-young, a four-term lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party, as unification minister and Park Jie-won, a former minor opposition party lawmaker, as chief of the National Intelligence Service.

Under law, the parliament is required to complete the confirmation procedures within 20 days of the president's move.

Even if lawmakers fail, or refuse, to adopt confirmation hearing reports, Moon is empowered to press ahead with the appointment of Lee and Park.

Last week, Moon announced his choice of them as new members of his security team, which faces the daunting task of breaking a stalemate in inter-Korean relations and the broader Korea peace process.

The nomination of Lee was widely expected, given his political clout and experience as well as longtime interest in regional peace issues. If appointed, he would serve as Seoul's point man on Pyongyang in charge of inter-Korean affairs.

To many, however, the pick of Park came as a surprise, in that he was often critical of Moon's policies as a political rival.

It was seen by many as a message to North Korea. Park was chief presidential secretary to late President Kim Dae-jung, who had a historic summit in 2000 with the North's then-leader Kim Jong-il. Park, known to have played a pivotal role in preparations for the summit, has long advocated rapprochement between the two Koreas and peace on the peninsula.

He is replacing Suh Hoon, who began his new work as director of national security at Cheong Wa Dae earlier this week.

These file photos show (from L to R) Park Jie-won, nominated as National Intelligence Service chief; Suh Hoon, new director of national security at Cheong Wa Dae; and Lee In-young, tapped as unification minister. (Yonhap)

lcd@yna.co.kr
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