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(3rd LD) Yoon appoints four ministers amid delay in parliamentary confirmation

All News 23:20 May 12, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with parliament's adoption of confirmation hearing report for unification minister nominee in paras 6-7)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, May 12 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol on Thursday appointed four ministers, including Foreign Minister Park Jin, amid a delay in their parliamentary confirmation process.

The new president, who took office Tuesday, appointed Park and Interior Minister Lee Sang-min in the morning and SMEs Minister Lee Young and Industry Minister Lee Chang-yang later in the day.

Yoon had needed at least three more ministers to meet the quorum for his first Cabinet meeting that took place in the afternoon, which led to speculation he would go ahead with the appointments without approval from the National Assembly.

Foreign Minister Park Jin (L) and Interior Minister Lee Sang-min (Yonhap)

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.

On Thursday, the National Assembly adopted confirmation hearing reports for three minister nominees -- the SMEs and industry minister nominees, and Unification Minister nominee Kwon Young-se -- raising the number of minister nominees it has approved to 10 out of 19.

The main opposition Democratic Party has yet to endorse Prime Minister nominee Han Duck-soo and eight 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 would 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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