Yoon says presidential office must be dedicated, competent to serve people

August 29, 2022

 President Yoon Suk-yeol said Monday that the presidential office must be dedicated and competent to better serve people amid speculation he may carry out a reshuffle of aides at his office to regain people’s trust.

“The presidential office should be the most dedicated and competent group to properly serve the people,” Yoon replied when asked about a possible reshuffle of his office as he arrived for work.

Yoon also said the presidential office’s “commitment to the nation and the capacity to work must always be maintained at its highest level.”

Yoon’s remarks came a day after a senior presidential official said the president could replace as many as 10 secretaries before the Chuseok fall harvest holiday that begins on Sept. 9.

The senior official at the presidential office told Yonhap News Agency that about 10 secretaries “will be replaced before the Chuseok holiday next month.”

The potential reshuffle is expected to affect offices of civil and social agenda and political affairs, according to the official.

The presidential office has conducted an inspection into secretaries ahead of the potential reshuffle.

President Yoon Suk-yeol takes reporters' questions as he arrives at the presidential office in Seoul on Aug. 29, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk-yeol takes reporters’ questions as he arrives at the presidential office in Seoul on Aug. 29, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Yoon has faced calls to overhaul his staff amid falling approval ratings blamed largely on his poor personnel choices in the presidential office and the government.

On Aug. 21, Yoon appointed Kim Eun-hye, a former lawmaker and his transition team spokesperson, as new senior secretary for press affairs in a reshuffle of the presidential office.

Asked about a leadership feud at the ruling People Power Party (PPP), Yoon said he would “respect” a decision by the PPP and its members.

The PPP has decided to form a new emergency leadership committee following a court ruling that suspended interim leader Joo Ho-young from duty.

The decision was made during a meeting last Saturday, a day after the Seoul Southern District Court granted an injunction requested by ousted PPP leader Lee Jun-seok.

Another senior presidential official told reporters that senior presidential secretaries could be replaced in the potential reshuffle.

Asked whether senior secretaries are also subject to the reshuffle, the official replied: “Senior secretary is no exception. There can be no exception, regardless of rank.”

The official confirmed two secretaries for political affairs have tendered their resignations, amid the leadership turmoil at the PPP.

A personnel reshuffle at the presidential office will continue “if there is anything lacking from the perspective of the people,” the official said.

A secretary for civil society affairs, meanwhile, was removed from office after a subordinate leaked internal documents on rallies held near the presidential office.

The dismissal is the first such case among presidential secretaries. The decision was made during a personnel committee meeting presided over by presidential chief of staff Kim Dae-ki earlier Monday.