S. Korea’s next leader to abandon Blue House for new office

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s incoming president claimed Sunday he will abandon the mountainside presidential palace of Blue Property and create his office environment at the Defense Ministry compound in central Seoul to much better talk with the community.

The prepare drew an speedy backlash from critics of the relocation plan, who warned that a hasty movement of top rated government offices would undermine South Korea’s nationwide protection, involve too much shelling out and violate assets legal rights of residents in the new presidential place of work place.

Relocating the presidential workplace was 1 of President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol’s principal campaign promises. The conservative former top rated prosecutor whose solitary 5-12 months expression commences on May well 10 said the locale and structure of the Blue Residence have fed criticism that South Korean leaders are minimize off from the community and wield too much ability.

At the Blue Dwelling compound, workplaces for presidential advisers and the press space are not in the same creating where by the president functions and are hundreds of meters (yards) apart. Some former officials stated they from time to time used bicycles or vehicles to stop by the president.

Yoon explained to a televised news conference Sunday that he chose the Protection Ministry compound simply because it’s by now outfitted with safety-related command amenities. He said his workforce drooped other internet sites because of inconveniences to the general public by presidential protection.

Yoon reported he’ll commence his phrase at the new office. He claimed Defense Ministry officials would be moved to the Joint Chiefs of Workers setting up at the compound, and that JCS personnel would be moved in phases to a war command heart on the outskirts of Seoul.

Yoon mentioned a large public park will be established up around the new presidential office environment and everyday citizens will be ready to glimpse at his office at a near distance. He claimed he also options to set up a push heart and meet journalists regularly.

In accordance to Yoon’s designs, the existing Blue Home will be open up to the public as a park on his inauguration day. He claimed he’ll gather public thoughts to pick out the identify of the new business office.

Critics of Yoon’s program have known as on him not to hurry the relocation, declaring other jobs have to have extra urgent attention, this sort of as surging COVID-19 cases, the North Korean nuclear menace and varied financial woes.

Yun Ho-jung, a leader of the liberal Democratic Celebration, the most important political celebration in South Korea, mentioned the relocation would result in “a big hole in nationwide security” amid North Korean threats since of the hasty motion of key facilities at the Protection Ministry compound. He mentioned some Seoul inhabitants will also very likely undergo “immense damage” in their home rights because of envisioned govt-imposed limitations on developments in the locations near the new workplace.

“Is it acceptable to unilaterally thrust for the relocation of the Blue Home and the Defense Ministry, which would establish countrywide protection and citizens’ property legal rights, without having asking the community opinions?” Yun stated. He urged the president-elect to cancel the relocation.

A group of 11 previous heads of the Joint Chiefs of Team conveyed to Yoon’s transition crew a statement opposing the relocation. They said it would allow the enemy to strike the presidential place of work and military headquarters simultaneously, according to South Korean media.

Outgoing liberal President Moon Jae-in, a Democratic Social gathering member, had previously also promised to move out of the Blue Property but canceled the plans soon after failing to find a web site for the new office environment.

Yoon claimed he was conscious of worries but explained if he begins his term at the Blue Home, which critics have identified as “a symbol of imperial electricity,” it will turn out to be harder to move out.

“I know relocating the presidential workplace isn’t an effortless matter. But if I again down on a promise with the men and women (on the relocation) once more, no other potential president would try to do it,” Yoon stated. “I’ve designed this selection for the upcoming of the place.”

Yoon said the relocation would price tag about 50 billion gained ($41 million). Some critics earlier claimed it would price up to 1 trillion gained ($825 million), an estimate Yoon termed “groundless.”