SEOUL – South Korean President Moon Jae-in sacked on Friday his finance minister and his policy chief amid an economic slump in the country and internal disagreements over measures to address the situation.
Moon named Hong Nam-ki, a technocrat who until now had worked as chief of the Office for Government Policy Coordination under the Prime Minister’s Office, to replace Kim Dong-yeon as finance minister, according to a statement from the presidential office.
Moon also named social affairs secretary Kim Soo-hyun to replace his presidential chief of staff for policy, Jang Ha-sung.
Jang is considered the architect of growth policy based on increasing average income to boost consumption and reduce wide inequalities, a formula Moon has championed since taking over at the Blue House in May last year.
This policy led to an increase in minimum wages by 16 percent in 2017 and 11 percent in 2018.
However, the measure has hit the services and manufacturing sectors and severely affected job creation since summer this year.
Several members of the government have publicly disagreed with Jang’s policy, causing a decline in the president’s approval ratings.
The fourth largest economy in Asia has also shown signs of a slowdown in recent months due to the trade war between China and the United States – two of South Korea’s major trading partners.