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(LEAD) Yoon appoints foreign, interior ministers

All News 11:29 May 12, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with details from 2nd para; REPLACES photo)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, May 12 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol appointed Foreign Minister Park Jin and Interior Minister Lee Sang-min on Thursday, a presidential official said, amid a delay in their parliamentary confirmation process.

Yoon needed at least three more ministers to meet the quorum for his first Cabinet meeting set for later in the day, which led to speculation he would appoint the two without approval from the National Assembly.

A composition photo of Foreign Minister Park Jin (L) and Interior Minister Lee Sang-min (Yonhap)

A composition photo of Foreign Minister Park Jin (L) and Interior Minister Lee Sang-min (Yonhap)

In South Korea, all ministers are subject to a parliamentary confirmation process, but only the prime minister's appointment requires parliamentary approval.

"(The appointments of) Ministers Park Jin and Lee Sang-min have been approved," the official told reporters.

The National Assembly later adopted confirmation hearing reports for SMEs Minister nominee Lee Young and Industry Minister nominee Lee Chang-yang, raising the number of minister nominees it has approved to nine out of 19.

The main opposition Democratic Party has yet to endorse Prime Minister nominee Han Duck-soo and nine others.

Park's appointment was considered especially pressing, as U.S. President Joe Biden is set to make his first trip to Seoul since taking office next week and hold his first summit with Yoon on May 21.

Park is a lawmaker of the ruling People Power Party, and Lee is a former vice chief of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission.

Thursday's Cabinet meeting will be an extraordinary session held to pass the government's extra budget proposal aimed at compensating small business owners for their losses from COVID-19 business restrictions.

Under an enforcement ordinance, a Cabinet meeting requires the majority of its members -- currently 11 out of 20 -- to be present.


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