Moon Jae-in

South Korea’s Moon forced to make second justice minister pick after first falls foul

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 June, 2017, 2:36pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 June, 2017, 2:36pm

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday made a second attempt at appointing a justice minister after his earlier choice withdrew over questions about ethics and views on women.

A month-and-a-half after winning a snap election, Moon is still trying to form his cabinet.

Whoever fills the justice minister’s post will have a role overseeing Moon’s promise of legal reforms following the impeachment of his predecessor, Park Geun-hye, due to a corruption scandal.

Moon has vowed to reform the country’s prosecutors’ office by making it more independent from politics.

His nomination of Park Sang-ki, a legal scholar, came 11 days after his earlier candidate Ahn Kyong-whan withdrew after revelations he forged an ex-girlfriend’s seal on a marriage licence application when he was young.

Nominees for cabinet posts appear before parliamentary panels, which routinely scrutinise their ethics, though their appointment does not require parliamentary approval.

Several of Moon’s picks, including the defence and unification ministers, have yet to be formally appointed, even as the country faces the challenge of stopping North Korea’s defiant pursuit of nuclear and missile programmes.

Moon travels to Washington on Wednesday for a summit with US President Donald Trump, which is expected to focus on reaffirming their countries’ alliance and how best to respond to the North’s weapons programme.