Political storm looms as Moon appoints Cho Kuk as justice minister

Sep 10, 2019, 09:30 am

print page small font big font

facebook share

tweet share

President Moon Jae-in gives the approval document to Cho Kuk as justice minister at Cheong Wa Dae on Sept. 9, 2019./ Source: Yonhap News

By AsiaToday reporter Lee Seok-jong 

President Moon Jae-in moved forward in appointing Cho Kuk as justice minister Monday, wrapping up the fierce political battle among lawmakers over the past month. However, a political turmoil now seems inevitable due to a severe backlash from opposition parties including the Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and the prosecution’s ongoing investigations into the family of the justice minister.

The president appointed six other minister-level officials in the latest Cabinet shakeup. The newly appointed officials include Science Minister Choi Ki-young, Gender Equality Minister Lee Jung-ok, Korea Communications Commission Chairman Han Sang-hyuk, Fair Trade Commission Chairperson Joh Sung-wook, and Financial Services Commission Chairman Eun Sung-soo. They were appointed without confirmation hearing reports from the National Assembly.

In particular, President Moon has been reportedly struggling with the appointment of his trusted aide as justice minister. Immediately after returning from a three-nation Southeast Asian tour, Moon held a meeting with his aides to discuss the appointment. Until the eve of the official announcement, Moon had prepared two versions – one for the appointment and the other for cancelling the nomination, taking an extra careful approach to the official appointment.
After giving Cho a letter of appointment, Moon issued a statement to the public, saying that it would be a “bad precedent” to not appoint Cho solely on allegations that have not been confirmed.

“The remaining task is to secure political neutrality of organizations with power, to establish them firmly as national institutions and perfect them legally and systematically,” Moon said. “I will leave efforts for reform in Minister Cho Kuk’s hands, who has striven with me for reform and achieved results.”

“I am aware of the public concerns that it could be difficult for the prosecution to smoothly conduct its investigation and for Cho to carry out his new duties while his family is under investigation and some figures already indicted. However, the prosecution has clearly shown its undoubted determination for a thorough probe,” the president said. 

“If the prosecution does what it has to do and the minister does the same, they will be able to clearly show the way forward the reform of powerful institutions and the advancement of democracy,” he added.

Moon’s remarks seem to clarify the task that Cho will have to carry out.

“There have been a lot of things over the past month. Nevertheless, I will always keep in mind the reason for being appointed,” Cho said in his inauguration speech. “I will make sure that the task of judiciary reform that has been my concern as a scholar and senior presidential secretary for civil affairs is carried out promptly and reliably.”

#Cho Kuk #justice minister #appointment #Moon Jae-in 
Copyright by Asiatoday