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South Korea: Transition panel announces new slate of top aides

대구광역시 / Wikimedia Commons

South Korea’s incoming President Yoon Suk-yeol is putting together the slate of individuals who will be serving in his administration when he takes office this month. Yoon’s transition committee has announced its new slate of top aides in several positions.

Reuters reports Yoon’s transition team Sunday announced its slate of aides for the conservative’s incoming administration. Yoon is to be inaugurated on May 10 after winning the presidential elections in March.

Yoon’s team named Kim Sung–han, who is a professor at Korea University and a former vice foreign minister, as Yoon’s national security adviser. Kim also served as a foreign policy adviser on Yoon’s transition committee.

Former vice finance minister Choi Sang-mok, who was also part of Yoon’s transition panel, was named the top economic policy adviser. Former director of operations at the Joint Chiefs of Staff Kim Yong-hyun will be serving as the head of the Presidential Security Service. Seoul National University professor Ahn Sang-hoon was named as Yoon’s social policy adviser.

This comes as the incoming administration faces several diplomatic challenges, including strengthening relations with the United States and easing tensions with China and Japan. The administration is also expected to tackle the increasing tensions with North Korea, especially as Pyongyang has pressed forward with its weapons tests.

Domestically, Yoon’s administration will also be tackling the ongoing issue of rising housing prices and growing economic inequality that has peaked under his predecessor Moon Jae-in.

Yoon and his team have been engaging with world leaders in the weeks leading up to his inauguration. Last week, Reuters reported that a delegation of Yoon’s foreign policy aides traveled to Japan for a five-day visit and met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Yoon has expressed a desire to improve relations with Japan despite the constant disputes between both countries that stem from Japan’s colonization of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945. Tokyo said that it is also determined to improve relations with South Korea, and during the meeting, Kishida stressed the importance of cooperation between both countries and the United States.

The visit to Japan last week came amidst speculation in local media that Kishida may attend Yoon’s inauguration.

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