Follow Us:
Saturday, May 28, 2022

Ex-prisoner becomes chief of staff to South Korea’s Moon Jae-In

Im Jong-Seok was convicted in 1989 for organising a rare, high-profile trip to Pyongyang by a female activist to take part in a youth festival

By: AFP | Seoul |
May 10, 2017 7:36:01 pm
Moon Jae-in, Im Jong-Seok, South Korea chief of staff, Moon Jae-in early career, Moon Jae-in life, Moon Jae-in past reports, Moon Jae-in bio, South Korea President, indian express news South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-In (R) talks with his chief of staff Im Jong-Seok (L) in his office at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on May 10, 2017. (Source: AFP)

The right hand man to South Korea’s new president is a former pro-democracy activist who spent more than three years in prison for organising an unauthorised trip to the North.

On his first day in office, Moon Jae-In named Im Jong-Seok to be his chief of staff, the second most powerful position in a political system which concentrates authority in the president.

Im, a 51-year-old former two-term lawmaker with the Democratic Party, was a prominent student activist in the 1980s and, like Moon, protested against military rule.

Outspoken and charismatic, Im has long been dogged by accusations he is a North Korea sympathiser.

Best of Express Premium

‘Monetisation’ axed, MeitY’s fresh draft to ‘encourage’ cos to share non-...Premium
Supreme Court directions on sex workers: history of the case, and where i...Premium
Cruise drug raid case: One officer went rogue, agency looked other wayPremium
Hindus and Muslims must give up rigid positions on contested places of wo...Premium

He was convicted in 1989 for organising a rare, high-profile trip to Pyongyang by a female activist to take part in a youth festival.

The two Koreas remain technically at war and under South Korean law its citizens need government permission to go to the North.

Even though he did not go to Pyongyang himself, Im was convicted and jailed over the trip.

He eventually entered politics in 2000 as a lawmaker for the Democratic Party and was later a deputy mayor of Seoul.

Im vowed to create an “open” office compared to the secrecy that surrounded it under ousted leader Park Geun-Hye, and told reporters: “I will serve Moon with all my heart, but will not become a yes man.”

Park’s conservative Liberty Korea Party angrily protested at his nomination.

“We can’t help expressing regret over the nomination,” it said in a statement, warning that it would further deepen concerns over Moon’s stance on North Korea.

For all the latest World News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by