Major reshuffle in Cabinet as Moon enters latter half of presidency

By Kim Arin

Published : Aug 9, 2019 - 10:08
Updated : Aug 9, 2019 - 17:05

President Moon Jae-in carried out his first Cabinet reshuffle in five months Friday, nominating four new ministers, four minister-level positions, a vice minister and ambassador to the United States.

The reshuffle comes as Moon heads toward the second half of his presidency with next year’s general election looming.

Moon kept his top diplomatic and national security officials while reshuffling his ministers of justice, science, agriculture, veterans affairs and gender equality, as well as ministerial-level officials heading fair trade, financial service and communications commissions.

Ministerial nominees have to go through a confirmation hearing at the National Assembly.

Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung said in a press briefing that Friday's Cabinet reshuffle "practically completes the second phase of the Moon administration." (Yonhap)

Cho Kuk, a former senior presidential secretary for civil affairs who served the post since the inauguration of the Moon administration, has been nominated justice minister, replacing Park Sang-ki.

Choi Ki-young, an electronics information engineering professor at Seoul National University, was nominated as the new minister of science and ICT. Choi will replace You Young-min.

Park Sam-deuk has been nominated to replace Pi Woo-jin, the first woman to head the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs. Park, a former lieutenant general, was president of the National Defense University. 

Kim Hyun-soo, who served as vice minister of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries was nominated as minister.

Lee Jung-ok, sociology professor at Catholic University of Daegu, has been nominated to replace Jin Sun-mee, a lawyer-turned-lawmaker, as minister of gender equality and family. Lee also co-chaired the Women’s Forum for Peace & Diplomacy.

Joh Sung Wook, a Seoul National University professor and nongovernmental delegate on the Regulatory Reform Committee, was nominated as new Fair Trade Commission head. If appointed, she will become the first woman to lead the regulatory body.

Eun Sung-soo, former president of Export-Import Bank of Korea, has been nominated as the new chief of the Financial Services Commission, replacing Choi Jong-koo. 

Han Sang-hyuk, a lawyer specializing in press freedom, has been nominated to replace Lee Hyo-sung as Korea Communications Commission director.

Diplomat-turned-lawmaker Lee Soo-hyuck was tapped as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the US. Lee was former President Roh Moo-hyun’s North Korea strategist and was also South Korea’s chief negotiator at the first three rounds of six-party talks in 2003-2004.

Kim Joon-hyung, a Handong University professor, will head the Korean National Diplomatic Academy, a vice minister-level post. He chaired a national advisory committee for the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s innovation projects.

Jeong Se-hyun, former unification minister, was picked as the new deputy chair of the Presidential National Unification Advisory Council, a de facto ministerial post.

Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung said in a press briefing that Friday’s Cabinet reshuffle “completes the second phase of the Moon administration.” 

The candidates’ ethics was a key consideration on top of expertise in the field, Ko said. The Cabinet picks are also an attempt to reflect gender parity in the government, one of Moon’s election pledges, she added.

This round of Cabinet nominations is expected to push the Moon administration’s reform drive, Ko said.

Moon’s five-year term ends in May 2022.

From top left: Cho Kuk, Choi Ki-young, Kim Hyeon-soo, Lee Jung-ok, Joh Sung-wookFrom bottom left: Eun Sung-soo, Han Sang-hyuk, Park Sam-deuk, Lee Soo-hyuck, Jeong Se-hyun (Cheong Wa Dae)

By Kim Arin (

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