It isn't the job of the presidential office to dig up people's information.
That's President Yoon Suk-yeol on Friday as he defended his administration's proposal to transfer the responsibility of vetting candidates for senior government posts from the now abolished office of the presidential secretary for civil affairs to a new personnel vetting unit under the Justice Ministry.
The South Korean leader was responding to a reporter's question on the latest controversy over the creation of a new organization to take up the task under the Justice Minister.
"That's how the U.S. system works. The presidential office should focus on policies and not on digging up a certain individual's irregularities or personal information. It's not right for the presidential office to take up such duties.
The new system is modeled after the American system where the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is under the Justice Department, conducts an initial vetting of candidates and submits a report to the White House.
Yoon has been critical of personnel inspection and verification being conducted by the presidential office saying those duties must be separated from the top office to ensure objectivity.
"That's why I abolished the office of the presidential secretary for civil affairs. Inspection should be left to an inspection agency. The president's secretaries should not act as a control tower for inspection, thereby should not be directly involved in collecting irregularities information on public office nominees. "
This is the first time for President Yoon to make any remarks on the issue.
"Still, the nation remains divided on whether creating a personnel vetting unit under the Justice Ministry is appropriate as some say while such a move may help the presidential office avoid criticisms of "closed-door" appointments, it may end up giving excessive power to the Justice Ministry.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News."