|Kwon Goo-hoon, new head of the Presidential Committee on Northern Economic Cooperation, gives an acceptance speech at Cheong Wa Dae, Wednesday. Yonhap|
By Park Ji-won
Senior Goldman Sachs economist Kwon Goo-hoon officially began his duties as head of the Presidential Committee on Northern Economic Cooperation (PCNEC), one of the key policymaking bodies for the President Moon Jae-in government.
President Moon Jae-in gave Kwon an appointment letter Wednesday.
In the appointment speech, Kwon said, "I think it is the time to go into the stage of crystalizing (the policy) to make detailed and practical results through utilization of accumulated policies on northern countries and international cooperation networks."
Moon Jae-in administration has been focusing on boosting ties with neighboring countries aiming at shifting away from U.S.-dependent diplomacy under the New Southern Policy and New Northern Policy. The New Northern Policy focuses on enhancing ties with Russia and Central Asia, while the New Southern Policy eyes ASEAN member states and India.
"I will try hard to make the most of my experiences in IMF and Goldman Sachs in stabilization of the policies for northern areas."
Presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom briefed Wednesday that "President Moon Jae-in was impressed by Kwon's lecture in a documentary TV show last summer and directly recommended him for the committee chief to the presidential human resource department."
He gave a lecture on the subject of economic unification in North Korea, China and Russia.
The committee, which was founded after a direct order from the President, is tasked to draft a roadmap on northern economic cooperation. The post has been empty since its former chief Song Young-gil resigned in late July to run for the leadership of the Democratic Party of Korea (DPK).
In a media briefing earlier at Cheong Wa Dae, the President's chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan said Kwon will retain his post at the U.S.-based investment bank.
Kwon joined Goldman Sachs in 2007 after earning a doctorate at Harvard University. He previously served as chief economist at the London branch of Netherlands-based ABN AMRO from 1998 to 2001.