Jung Kwan-joo, the new first vice minister of culture, sports and tourism, will officially begin his new job at the ministry Wednesday, according to the Culture Ministry on Monday.
Jung was previously a presidential secretary for public communications. He is succeeding Park Min-kwon, who was appointed first vice culture minister in February last year.
As the first vice minister of culture, sports and tourism, Jung will oversee culture and arts policymaking, as well as the development of the cultural content industry in close collaboration with the state-run Korea Creative Content Agency.
“We appointed (Jung) as he is the right man for the job to resolve various issues in the culture and arts sector, and contribute to the country’s cultural enrichment and the development of a creative economy,” Cheong Wa Dae said Sunday.
Jung’s appointment came as a surprise, raising speculation that President Park Geun-hye was not satisfied with the Culture Ministry’s handling of the administration’s key culture policies and projects, such as the creative economy, public cultural enrichment and nation branding.
Observers also said the appointment of a nonbureaucratic figure such as Jung, along with Culture Minister Kim Jong-deok and second Vice Minister Kim Chong, who both hail from outside the government sector, could be interpreted as indicative of the president’s strong will to reform the ministry and push it to rapidly carry out its key culture policies.
Jung, a former lawyer, worked at the Bureau of Public Information from 1993-1996. The Lee Myung-bak administration merged the bureau with the Culture Ministry in 2008. Culture Minister Kim Jong-deok was a former dean of Hongik University’s Graduate School of Film and Digital Media, while Second Vice Minister Kim Chong was a former professor at Hanyang University’s Department of Sports Industry. The second vice minister is in charge of sports and tourism policies.
The Culture Ministry denied speculation that Jung’s appointment was a “total surprise,” despite former first vice minister Park’s contribution to establishing a cultural belt consisting of a start-up center and a cultural content academy in Seoul.
“This is not the first time to see an official coming to the ministry from Cheong Wa Dae and, normally, the position of the first vice minister is bound to change after a year,” the ministry spokesperson said.
Cheong Wa Dae said that Jung had numerous exchanges and discussions with artists while he was secretary for public communications.By Park Hyong-ki