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Controversial aide returns to Cheong Wa Dae

Tak Hyun-min, left, new presidential protocol secretary, takes part at an event at Cheong Wa Dae, Tuesday. Yonhap
Tak Hyun-min, left, new presidential protocol secretary, takes part at an event at Cheong Wa Dae, Tuesday. Yonhap

By Do Je-hae

Former presidential aide Tak Hyun-min, who had caused a controversy with his sexist remarks, has returned to Cheong Wa Dae with a promotion to secretary for protocol.

His unexpected return comes about a year and four months after he stepped down from his previous post as assistant secretary at the presidential protocol office.

He was included in a list of new presidential aides announced Sunday.

The appointment of Tak, a former adjunct professor on cultural content, as the presidential protocol chief is seen unusual as high-level diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have usually been sent to fill the post at the presidential office. Tak's predecessor, Bahk Sahng-hoon, was also a career diplomat.

Tak's return has drawn criticism of President Moon Jae-in for "recycling" a controversial aide, who has been attacked for his past sexist remarks in his book published in 2007. He has faced calls from women's rights groups to resign since his earlier work at Cheong Wa Dae following Moon's inauguration in May 2017.

But the presidential office insists that Tak has what it takes for the job.

"Tak is an event planning expert who served as an assistant protocol secretary at the beginning of our administration," presidential spokesman Kang Min-seok said in a statement.

"We expect him to be able to further enhance the nation's national image, which has been boosted by our COVID-19 response, by taking full charge of the President's major events in the second half of the administration."

Tak is known for arranging some of the Moon administration's key events, such as the 2018 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the border village of Panmunjeom.


Tak Hyun-min, left, new presidential protocol secretary, takes part at an event at Cheong Wa Dae, Tuesday. Yonhap
Tak Hyun-min, left, new presidential protocol secretary, takes part at an event at Cheong Wa Dae, Tuesday. Yonhap

By Do Je-hae

Former presidential aide Tak Hyun-min, who had caused a controversy with his sexist remarks, has returned to Cheong Wa Dae with a promotion to secretary for protocol.

His unexpected return comes about a year and four months after he stepped down from his previous post as assistant secretary at the presidential protocol office.

He was included in a list of new presidential aides announced Sunday.

The appointment of Tak, a former adjunct professor on cultural content, as the presidential protocol chief is seen unusual as high-level diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have usually been sent to fill the post at the presidential office. Tak's predecessor, Bahk Sahng-hoon, was also a career diplomat.

Tak's return has drawn criticism of President Moon Jae-in for "recycling" a controversial aide, who has been attacked for his past sexist remarks in his book published in 2007. He has faced calls from women's rights groups to resign since his earlier work at Cheong Wa Dae following Moon's inauguration in May 2017.

But the presidential office insists that Tak has what it takes for the job.

"Tak is an event planning expert who served as an assistant protocol secretary at the beginning of our administration," presidential spokesman Kang Min-seok said in a statement.

"We expect him to be able to further enhance the nation's national image, which has been boosted by our COVID-19 response, by taking full charge of the President's major events in the second half of the administration."

Tak is known for arranging some of the Moon administration's key events, such as the 2018 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the border village of Panmunjeom.


Do Je-hae jhdo@koreatimes.co.kr

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