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Park’s plans for reorganisation expected later this week, says official

Publication Date : 14-01-2013

 

South Korea's President-elect Park Geun-hye’s plans for government reorganization are expected to be announced later this week after the transition team finishes receiving briefings from government bodies on Wednesday.

While the transition team has made no official comment regarding the timing of the announcement, observers say that the process of drawing up the plans is likely to follow a schedule similar to that of the briefings.

Along with the reorganisation plans, candidates for various ministerial-level positions and prime minister are expected to be announced within the week, with Park said to have been concentrating on the issue in recent days.

“The issue (Park) has given most attention to is personnel selection including the posts of prime minister and (other) ministers,” transition committee spokesman Park Sun-kyoo said Sunday. He stressed that Park was not making the decisions alone and that the vetting process was being conducted through “diverse channels and methods.”

While developments directly concerning Park remain under wraps, the transition committee has eased its approach to the media in relation to the workings of the subcommittees.

Until Saturday, the transition team had kept all related information from the media, earning heavy criticism from the media and opposition parties.

On Sunday, chief spokesman Yoon Chang-jung and deputy transition team chief Chin Young held the first press call on government briefings, giving a general outline for sessions held in the day including those from the Ministry of Finance and Stragety, and the Defence Acqusition Programme Administration.

Regarding plans for selling stakes in state-run companies as part of the plans to improving their operation, Chin said that the transition committee was not involved and that the issue will be decided after the Park Geun-hye administration takes over.

Aside from the policy issues, Yoon revealed that director of the Institute of Unification Studies at Ewha Womans University Choi Dae-seok stepped down as a member of the subcommittee on defence, unification and foreign affairs.

Yoon declined to elaborate on the reason for Choi’s decision, saying only that the resignation was offered on Saturday and that it was accepted immediately by Park. Yoon also said that no decisions regarding the empty seat on the subcommittee have been made.

Meanwhile, the speculation about the timing of the government regorganisation announcement was also supported by comments from Rep. Kang Seog-hoon of the Saenuri Party, a member of the state affairs planning and coordination subcommittee.

On Saturday, Kang told reporters that the timing would need to reflect the National Assembly’s schedule as well.

The political parties have yet to finalise the date, but the National Assembly is expected to commence the extraordinary session on January 21.

While the transition team has been as tight-lipped about the reorganization plans as it has been about all issues since the December 19 election, the plans are considered unlikely to have deviated much from Park’s election pledges.

Park has pledged to revive the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and to establish a body in charge of issues regarding information and communication technologies.

She has placed particular emphasis on launching a ministry dedicated to science and technology tentatively known as the “ministry of future creation science”.

“The future creation science ministry will be in charge of science and technology policies and promoting creative economy,” Park said at an event organised by science and technology professionals on January 10, saying that science and technology will be an important basis of state affairs. “Creative economy” is Park’s economic model that looks to find growth momentum in science and technology.

As for the body for information and communication technologies, it is unclear whether it will be set up as a ministry - similar to the Ministry of Information and Technology closed down under the Lee Myung-bak administration - or in a different form.

Aside from the changes included in Park’s election pledges, speculations have risen that posts of vice prime ministers for economic and welfare issues could be newly established in order to boost the efficiency with which related policies are executed.

 

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