The Bank of Korea in Seoul. (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in and President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol are seen as bickering over replacing the Bank of Korea governor, whose term ends on March 31 ahead of the May inauguration day, sparking concerns of a leadership void that could add another layer of uncertainty to economic worries.
The BOK, which is expected to lift the nation’s key rate in response to a rate hike by the US Federal Reserve on Wednesday, is walking a thin line between stemming currency depreciation and inflation at home.
The dispute over who should name the chief to deal with the pressing challenges intensified Thursday, when Moon’s press secretary, Park Soo-hyun, said it was undoubtedly Moon’s job and not Yoon’s, though Park left room open for compromise.
“I mean if Moon and Yoon meet together, they would surely discuss the matter. Isn’t that the expectation?” Park said, referring to their canceled luncheon the previous day. The two sides at the last minute decided to “postpone” the highly anticipated meeting because of unfinished arrangements involving the meeting’s agenda.
The two sides have been at odds over whether conservative leader Yoon could use discretion in filling government jobs or recommending a pardon for former President Lee Myung-bak.
Meanwhile, the Financial Services Commission, which oversees markets, had already told state-run companies and foundations under its supervision to consider the new government’s takeover when they open applications for political appointees.
The top financial policymaker said the decision to issue the notification was made well before the presidential election a week ago.
“Our understanding is that the new appointees should be in sync with the new government. And we are not forcing them to abide by our guidelines. They’re rather a point of reference,” an official said.
By Choi Si-young (email@example.com