Professor Yoo Min-bong of Sungkyunkwan University, chief of the planning and coordination division of the presidential transition team, answers reporters' question at the Korea Banking Institute in Samcheong-dong, Seoul, Friday. / Yonhap
Cheong Wa Dae will be operated under broadly three pillars, namely the presidential office, the national security office and the presidential security service, under the Park Geun-hye government, the transition team said Friday.
Unveiling the detailed organization structure, Yoon Chang-jung, a spokesman of the presidential transition team, explained that the head of the security service will be promoted to a ministerial-level position. The heads of the other two offices are the same level.
Professor Yoo Min-bong of Sungkyunkwan University, also responsible for the team's planning and coordination division, said that heavy workloads of the security service made it difficult for the service to fulfill its functions properly.
He noted the promotion of the security service also has a symbolic meaning that can help boost morale of security staff.
"There will be a significant difference in morale of the staff when their boss is a vice ministerial level staffer and a post higher than that. Even though there will be no staff increase, promotion of the head to a ministerial level will make a big difference in security staff's pride of the service," Yoo said.
The team clarified the roles of a senior presidential secretary on national security and foreign affairs and the head of the national security team. The former, a vice ministerial level position, will assist President Park when she makes decisions on defense, foreign policy and unification, whereas the latter will be responsible for forging a mid- and long-term security strategy and management of national crises.
Professor Yoo, an architect of the government restructuring plan, said the national security office would be responsible for security threats, such as the sinking of the warship Cheonan near the maritime border with North Korea in the West Sea in March 2010.
The transition team also said a chief of staff position, a deputy-ministerial level position, will be created in the Prime Minister's Office.
The main opposition Democratic United Party reacted negatively to the promotion of the security service.
In a statement released after the announcement, Rep. Kim Hyun, a Democratic United Party (DUP) spokeswoman, alleged that the measure would overly empower the security service and this will backfire.
"The promotion of the security service left us, the DUP, wondering why such a measure was necessary," Kim said.