Moon names IMF official as BOK chief amid tensions with Yoon

SEOUL– The office of President Moon Jae-in announced the nomination of an International Monetary Fund official as the next chief of the Bank of Korea on Wednesday, saying the selection was discussed with the side of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol.

But Yoon’s office refuted the claim, saying there were no prior consultations or recommendations, as tensions between Moon and Yoon deepened over sensitive issues, such as whether it’s right for the outgoing president to make appointments for key positions and Yoon’s plan to relocate the presidential office.

Rhee Chang-yong, director of the Asia and Pacific department at the IMF, has been nominated to replace Lee Ju-yeol as governor of the central bank, Moon’s senior secretary for public communication Park Soo-hyun said.

Lee’s term ends at the end of this month.

“Rhee has (knowledge of) both theory and policy implementation in the domestic and international economies, as well as in monetary policy, and is said to enjoy the strong confidence of those around him,” Park said at a press briefing.
Rhee previously worked as an economics professor at Seoul National University, vice chief of the Financial Services Commission and chief economist at the Asian Development Bank.

“I think Rhee is a great person but procedurally he is Cheong Wa Dae’s personnel choice and the president-elect’s side never recommended him,” an official close to Yoon told Yonhap News Agency.

The position of BOK governor is one of a number of public offices whose nominations are at the center of a power struggle between the outgoing and incoming administrations.

A planned meeting between Moon and Yoon last week was called off the same morning after the sides reportedly clashed over who would make the nominations and whether to pardon imprisoned former President Lee Myung-bak.

Moon’s opposition to Yoon’s plan to relocate the presidential office to the defense ministry compound has further complicated prospects for the meeting, which would be their first since Yoon’s election on March 9.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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