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(LEAD) Moon names three new senior secretaries, no announcement on chief of staff

All News 18:04 August 10, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with details from 3rd para; MODIFIES lead, headline; CHANGES photo)

SEOUL, Aug. 10 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in picked three new key senior Cheong Wa Dae secretaries Monday amid public anger over the government's real estate policies that have been unsuccessful so far.

He named Choi Jae-sung, a former four-term ruling party lawmaker, as senior secretary for political affairs; Kim Jong-ho, secretary general of the Board of Audit and Inspection, for civil affairs and justice; and Kim Je-nam, secretary for climate and environment, for civic and social affairs, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.

The president will formally appoint them Tuesday, Kang added.

Their predecessors -- Kang Gi-jung, Kim Jo-won and Kim Geo-sung -- tendered their resignations last Friday, saying the move was to take "comprehensive responsibility for the recent situation."

Moon's Chief of Staff Noh Young-min, Kim Oe-sook, senior secretary for personnel affairs, and Yoon Do-han, senior secretary for public communication, also offered to quit.

Kang, however, did not announce their replacements.

Asked whether the president will accept their resignations, a presidential official said, "It's hard to comment, as it's a matter related to the president's personnel affairs rights."

On the nomination of Choi, Kang said he has expertise in political affairs, as well as the ability to get things done and map out policy plans.

He is the "right figure to support a smooth push for policy tasks and contribute to the restoration of politics of cooperation and the advancement of national unity on the basis of brisk communication with opposition parties," Kang said at a press briefing.

Kim, the nominee to become senior secretary for civil affairs and justice, is a veteran state auditor. He served as Moon's first secretary for civil service discipline at Cheong Wa Dae.

"He receives an assessment that he has a high level of understanding on the Moon Jae-in administration's philosophy of state management," Kang said.

The incoming secretary for civic and social affairs, a former lawmaker with the progressive Justice Party, had long worked at a nongovernmental environmental group.

"She's expected to preemptively adjust and resolve various issues of conflict in our society," Kang said.

Moon's approval rating has been on a notable decline over the past weeks. Many say that public uproar over relentless home price hikes mainly in Seoul and nearby Gyeonggi Province is among major reasons. Despite a number of stated policy measures, the government has failed to stabilize the housing market.


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