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Park considering holding off on ministerial appointments: official

SEOUL, Feb. 28 — President Park Geun-hye is considering holding off on appointing some government ministers even if the National Assembly completes their confirmation processes because their appointments could conflict with her government reorganization plans still pending in parliament, an official said Thursday.

Park made Cabinet nominations under the existing government structure that is supposed to go through a series of major changes under her organizational rearrangement proposal that calls for creating new ministries and agencies, and reassigning duties among existing offices.

For example, the ministry of foreign affairs and trade is supposed to shed all of its trade negotiating functions, handing them over to the ministry of industry, commerce and resources. New ministries will also be set up, such as the ministry of future creation and science and the maritime affairs ministry.

"Even if the president becomes able to appoint them, the situation is that we cannot help but hold off on ministerial appointment in case the ministries have their names and functions changed … until the government organization restructuring plans are passed," a presidential official said.

Park's Cabinet nominations have been held up in the parliamentary confirmation process, forcing her to take office Monday without a single new Cabinet member. It was only Tuesday that the National Assembly approved the nominee for her prime minister.

A Cabinet meeting, which is supposed to be held every Tuesday, could not take place.

The absence of a new Cabinet and the protracted impasse in parliament over Park's government reorganization proposal have sparked concern that the government may not be able to deal properly with important issues at a time of economic difficulties and high tensions with North Korea.

On Wednesday, Park also expressed serious concern about the situation, especially the absence of her main national security aide set to head the office of national security. The new position, if approved, will be established at the presidential office and play the role of a "control tower" on security matters.(PNA/Yonhap)

LOR/JNC

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