(2nd LD) Yoon appoints 8 cabinet members, including defense and finance ministers

(ATTN: UPDATES with Yoon’s remarks, 5th paragraph details; ADD photos)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, April 10 (Yonhap) — President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol on Sunday announced eight Cabinet appointments, including Rep. Choo Kyung-ho as deputy prime minister for the economy and former deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Lee Jong-sup as Minister of Defense.

Lee Chang-yang, a professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, was named industry minister, while former Jeju governor Won Hee-ryong was named land minister, Yoon said. during a press conference.

Lee Jong-ho, head of Seoul National University’s semiconductor research institute, was named science minister, while Chung Ho-young, former head of Kyungpook National University Hospital, was appointed Minister of Health.

Park Bo-gyoon, former vice president of the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, was named culture minister, and former representative Kim Hyun-sook was named gender equality and family minister.

Yoon said his only criteria for choosing the eight people was whether they were best suited to take charge of their respective fields and lead them for the benefit of the country and the people.

The other nominees will be announced as soon as the verification process is complete, he said.

“I have said since my campaign that I will not assign or distribute (personnel according to region or gender),” Yoon said. “When we seek out and appoint the people who will most effectively lead each ministry…because the talents of the Republic of Korea are not concentrated on one side, I believe a balance will be achieved by region, generation and gender.”

Yoon said Choo, a former economic bureaucrat, was praised for his planning and coordination skills in conducting state affairs. As a lawmaker for the soon-to-be-ruling People Power Party, Choo also served as a senior member of the House Strategy and Finance Committee and Deputy Chief Prosecutor.

If confirmed, Choo will double as deputy prime minister for economy and finance minister.

“I expect him to use his expertise in the civil service and his experience in parliament to establish a basis for our economy to leap again and establish smooth communication with the National Assembly,” said Yoon at the press conference at the headquarters of the transition team, flanked by the nominees.

On Defense Minister Lee’s nominee, Yoon said the Korea Military Academy graduate had held several key positions in the Defense Ministry and the JCS, earning recognition for his expertise in military operations. and the development of defense policy.

“He contributed greatly to the development of the security alliance between South Korea and the United States,” Yoon said. “I expect him to establish firm security and strong defense power while realizing close cooperation with our ally.”

Choo, who is currently part of Yoon’s transition team, said the new government’s biggest task will be to stabilize prices and public livelihoods.

Meanwhile, Lee said it was important to bolster the country’s own deterrent capabilities against North Korean threats while making full use of US military hardware.

“I think we should push both axes,” he said, referring to an effective policy against North Korea and building relations with the United States.

The appointments came a month before Yoon took office. Last Sunday, the president-elect named former prime minister Han Duck-soo as his first prime minister.

Appointments are subject to a parliamentary confirmation process, but only the prime minister needs parliamentary approval.

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