Go to Contents Go to Navigation

(2nd LD) Moon vows to fulfill duty as commander-in-chief amid row over Yoon's relocation plan

Politics 11:57 March 22, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with Yoon's spokesperson's remarks in paras 9-13; ADDS photo)
By Kim Deok-hyun and Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, March 22 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in called Tuesday for watertight national security and vowed to fulfill his duty as commander-in-chief until his term ends, a day after his office voiced concern successor-elect Yoon Suk-yeol's plan to relocate the presidential office could leave a security vacuum.

Moon, whose term ends on May 9, said during a Cabinet meeting that his "last mission" is to "fulfill duties as head of state, chief of the administration, and commander-in-chief of the military that the Constitution has granted to the president."

Moon also said the security situation on the Korean Peninsula is "grave."

"It is time for our military to maintain its highest security readiness," Moon said.

President Moon Jae-in speaks during a virtual Cabinet meeting at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on March 22, 2022. (Yonhap)

Moon's remarks were seen as thinly veiled opposition to Yoon's plan to relocate the presidential office out of Cheong Wa Dae before his inauguration on May 10.

On Sunday, Yoon officially announced his decision to move the presidential office to what is now the defense ministry building, saying he wants the top office to move out of a "symbol of imperial power" and get closer to the people.

But the relocation push has hit a snag as Moon's office expressed opposition, saying such a hurried relocation could cause a security vacuum and confusion at a time of rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"There should be no small factor of anxiety in security," Moon said. "We need to be more vigilant during the change of government and make every effort for stable management of the situation on the Korean Peninsula."

Shortly before Moon made his remarks, Yoon's spokesperson Kim Eun-hye said the president-elect's team is open to suggestions.

"If Cheong Wa Dae informs us separately on what their wishes are, we will consider them carefully," Kim said during a press briefing.

She also rejected the notion they are asking Moon to "vacate" the premises before the stroke of midnight on May 10 so that Yoon can open the compound to the public the same day.

"We are not scary tenants," she said. "What we mean to say is that because President-elect Yoon will begin his official work as president on that day, we will symbolically and with responsibility keep our promise to the people."

Kim said Monday that if Cheong Wa Dae refuses to cooperate in the relocation, Yoon will continue to work from the transition team's office in Tongeui-dong after taking office.

President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol points at an image of the defense ministry compound as he explains his plan to relocate the presidential office there, during a press conference at the transition team's headquarters in Seoul on March 20, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)


Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!