South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday replaced his top commanders on economic policy amid the faltering economy, but his choices nevertheless indicated little change in policy direction.
Hong Nam-ki, minister of government policy coordination who previously served in the finance ministry, would replace Kim Dong-yeon as the deputy prime minister for economy and finance minister.
Kim Soo-hyun, senior presidential secretary for social affairs, would be promoted to policy chief after Jang Ha-sung. Kim, who had served on the Roh Moo-hyun administration while Moon was the chief of staff, is dubbed the right man of Moon. He has been spearheading the recent hard-line real estate policy and progressive energy policy of phasing out nuclear and fossil fuel.
Hong Nam-ki, 58, is a veteran bureaucrat who has served key positions in the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and Ministry of Economy and Finance.
Kim Soo-hyun, 56, previously headed the state-run think tank Seoul Institute and served as deputy environment minister and in the presidential secretariat for national economy and social policy.
(from left) Hong Nam-ki, deputy prime minister for economy and finance minister, Kim Soo-hyun, policy chief, Noh Hyeong-ouk, minister of government policy coordination, and Kim Yeon-myung, senior presidential secretary for social affairs
Kim and Jang had been at odds over how to address the adverse effects of the income-led growth policy, the keystone of Moon’s economic policy. Kim had called for moderation in the rises in minimum wage and other labor-related actions in view of the negative impact on the business sector. Jang argued the job losses and other side effects were inevitable growing pain during the transitional phrase and urged acceleration in the current policy.
Noh Hyeong-ouk, current deputy, was promoted to minister of government policy coordination, while Chung-Ang University professor Kim Yeon-myung was recruited as the senior presidential secretary for social affairs.
The market was unimpressed by the announcement, expecting little change in the policy status quo. This is the first reshuffle in the economic team since Moon took office in May last year.
The Kospi retreated 0.32 percent to close Friday at 2,085.98 while the Kosdaq fell 0.88 percent to 687.57.
By Kim Hyo-jin
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]