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Yoon to overhaul presidential office into public-private committees

Politics 15:31 March 11, 2022

SEOUL, March 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's presidential office, or Cheong Wa Dae, is expected to undergo sweeping changes both externally and internally under the incoming government of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, who has promised a smaller and less powerful presidential office, informed officials said Friday.

Yoon won Wednesday's presidential election on campaign pledges on government reform, including the dismantling of Cheong Wa Dae and relocation of the presidential office to the Seoul Government Complex in Gwanghwamun Square, central Seoul.

Besides the relocation, Yoon is determined to reorganize the presidential office into a number of public-private joint committees across sectors, the officials said.

This undated file photo shows the Seoul Government Complex (R) in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul. (Yonhap)

Notably, Yoon's incoming government will consider opening the door of the presidential committees to foreign experts, they said.

According to the current law, foreigners can be appointed as public officials except in fields related to national security. Foreigners recruited to join Yoon's presidential committees as a civilian will be allowed to handle security and confidential affairs.

Most of the core policies that form the backbone of the incoming government's state affairs are expected to go through approval by the presidential committees, they said.

"The public-private joint committees under the direct control of the president will be filled with public officials from the administration and the best talent from abroad," said an official close to Yoon.

"We'll try to include foreigners in the presidential committees," the official stressed.

In addition, Yoon plans to brief reporters on the presidential committees' decisions at least once a week, he added.

Cheong Wa Dae is seen behind Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul on March 10, 2022. (Yonhap)

Cheong Wa Dae, also known as the Blue House, refers to a secluded complex of multiple buildings used as the head of state's executive office and official residence, and the presidential secretariat's office.

Yoon has criticized Cheong Wa Dae for dominating ministries and monopolizing power based on the "imperial" presidential system. He has promised to transform the presidential office into a place where the nation's top government officials and global talents work together.

The officials close to the president-elect said the new presidential office will be drastically reduced to include only staffers in the fields of political affairs and public communication in addition to the presidential committees.


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