- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 27, 2003

SEOUL, South Korea, Feb. 27 (UPI) — Newly inaugurated South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun announced its Cabinet line-up on Thursday highlighted by installations of many reformists following the opposition-dominated Parliament's endorsement of Roh's candidate for prime minister.

Roh spent his first full day in office without a Cabinet as he waited through daylong wrangling in the Parliament before the body approved 65-year-old Goh Kuh as prime minister on Wednesday night.

But the president, inaugurated Tuesday, wasted little time in announcing his Cabinet Thursday.

Roh appointed Kim Jin-pyo, a taxation policy expert, to handle the country's economic affairs as deputy premier. Kim, vice chairman of Roh's power transition team, will also serve as minister of finance and economy.

Yoon Young-Kwan, an international relations professor at Seoul National University, was named minister of foreign affairs and trade. Yoon, 52, has served as the transition team's foreign policy chief and visited Washington this month as a member of the South Korean delegation seeking a solution to the North Korean nuclear issue.

Cho Young-kil, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was named as defense minister. Cho, 63, is considered an expert in the area of military strategic planning and arms build-up. The new defense chief was nicknamed the "Internet command" for his computer skill. Cho said his new job would focus on "developing future-oriented security ties" between South Korea and the United States that have been stained in the wake of anti-American protests.

Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun was allowed to retain his post to press ahead with Roh's policy of "peace and prosperity" aimed at improving ties with North Korea, a new version of his predecessor's "sunshine policy" of engaging the Pyongyang.

Kang Gum-sil, a 46-year old reformist lawyer, became the country's first female justice minister, joining the traditionally conservative ministry dominated by elderly prosecution elite.

Prosecutors have frowned Kang's appointment as bypassing the seniority system in the prosecution and plunge their organization into confusion and instability. Roh's said his appointment of the reformist lawyer was part of efforts to implement his campaign promise of "renovating the prosecution."

In another sign of upcoming reform campaign, Roh tapped Kim Doo-kwan, a former head of a small county, minister of government administration and home affairs. The 45 year-old minister is considered as a flag-bearer of reform campaign in Roh's Cabinet.

Chin Dae-je, president and chief executive officer of Samsung Electronics Co.'s digital media network business, was named information and communication minister. Chin, 51, was nicknamed "Mr. Chip" or "Mr. Digital" for his business acumen in Samsung's semiconductor business.

Lee Chang-dong, a popular film director, take the helm of the culture and tourism ministry. But the name of the deputy premier for education was excluded from the new Cabinet lineup, indicating jitters among candidates.

Roh has billed his administration the "Participatory Government," pledging to expand the public's participation in the processes of establishing and implementing policies. Ahead of the Cabinet formation, Roh allowed citizens to recommend candidates and suggest policies through the Internet.

The inauguration of Roh, 56-year-old former human right lawyer, heralds the country's changing political landscape in which a younger reform-minded generation of leaders are gaining power, replacing the authoritarian elite.

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