SEOUL– President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol on Sunday picked Kim Sung-han, a former vice foreign minister and his longtime foreign policy mentor, as his national security adviser while also naming all five senior presidential secretaries and other members of the presidential office.
“Nominee Kim Sung-han is equipped with not only the theory but the capability to draw up and execute policy,” Chang Je-won, Yoon’s chief of staff during the transition period, said during a press briefing. “He is the right person to serve as the control tower that will defend the security of the nation and the people by proactively responding to the security environment at home and abroad.”
Kim currently heads the foreign affairs and security subcommittee of the transition team and is also a childhood friend of the president-elect. He has advocated a foreign policy centered on a robust South Korea-U.S. alliance.
On Sunday, he vowed to work to “normalize South-North relations in line with principles.”
“Instead of a relationship where we are unconditionally following from behind, I will work to lead inter-Korean relations, as equal partners, under the principle of pursuing peace and prosperity through denuclearization,” he told reporters.
Chang said Kim Tae-hyo, who served as presidential secretary on national security strategy between 2008 and 2012, was tapped for first deputy national security adviser, while Shin In-ho, former presidential crisis management officer, was named second deputy national security adviser.
Kim Tae-hyo is a “strategist” with both the theoretical knowledge and practical experience in the national security field and is expected to help improve deadlocked inter-Korean relations and establish the framework for a “principled” North Korea policy, Chang said.
Shin also possesses abundant practical experience and is anticipated to present a detailed policy that will help strengthen the country’s watertight security posture while demonstrating his crisis management capabilities, according to Chang.
Former lawmaker Lee Jin-bok was named senior political secretary, while former lawmaker Kang Seung-kyoo was picked for senior civil society secretary.
Choi Young-bum, a journalist-turned-vice president at Hyosung Group, was tapped for senior communications secretary and former Vice Finance Minister Choi Sang-mok was chosen for senior economic secretary.
Yoon also picked Ahn Sang-hoon, a professor of social welfare at Seoul National University, for senior social secretary, and Kim Yong-hyun, former operations director at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as head of the presidential security service.
Kang In-sun, a former journalist and Washington correspondent for the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, will serve as spokesperson of the presidential office. Currently, she is the president-elect’s spokesperson for foreign press.
The appointments, which were announced only days ahead of Yoon’s inauguration on May 10, are in line with Yoon’s promise to downsize the presidential office from its current eight senior secretaries and three offices.
Under the new format, the presidential office will consist of only five senior secretaries and two offices — those of the president’s chief of staff and the national security adviser.
Yoon earlier named Kim Dae-ki, an economic technocrat, as his chief of staff.
Source: Yonhap News Agency