Moon nominates experienced hands for his team

President Moon Jae In announcing his appointments for new foreign and finance ministers and chief security officials at the presidential office   in Seoul, South Korea on May 21.
President Moon Jae In announcing his appointments for new foreign and finance ministers and chief security officials at the presidential office in Seoul, South Korea on May 21.PHOTO: EPA

SEOUL • South Korean President Moon Jae In turned to a long-time public official for the post of finance chief, as he named key advisers and Cabinet posts yesterday.

The newly elected leader nominated Ajou University president Kim Dong Yeon as finance minister and deputy prime minister. Mr Kim, a former vice-finance minister and chief at the Office for Government Policy Coordination, is an economics expert who is well respected in political circles, academia and industry, the presidential office said.

Mr Kim will take a leading role in Mr Moon's Cabinet as it seeks to move the nation forward following the impeachment of former president Park Geun Hye.

The finance chief will have to tackle challenges that include rising household debt, youth unemployment and weak consumption. He also faces risks related to North Korea, United States trade protectionism and the prospect of further interest-rate increases by the US Federal Reserve.

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Mr Moon also appointed Korea University professor Jang Ha Sung for the new position of chief of staff for policy. Prof Jang, who has done extensive research on inequality and corporate governance, is expected to work on policies to reform family-run conglomerates known as chaebol.

The President named UN policy adviser Kang Kyung Wha as foreign minister. If appointed, Ms Kang will be the first female chief in the ministry's almost 70-year history as Mr Moon seeks to fulfil a campaign pledge for gender equality in his Cabinet appointments.

For the role of national security adviser, Mr Moon nominated former ambassador to Geneva Chung Eui Yong. Mr Chung will use his diplomatic skills to tackle issues such as North Korea's nuclear development, the US missile shield recently deployed on Korean soil and free-trade agreements.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2017, with the headline 'Moon nominates experienced hands for his team'. Print Edition | Subscribe