President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol is unlikely to begin his term in the new presidential office as the time frame is too short to relocate in, Yoon’s office conceded Wednesday.
“Once the reserve funds for the relocation are approved (at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday), working-level discussions will begin in earnest,” said Yoon’s spokesperson Bae Hyun-jin at a morning briefing.
“It is impossible to relocate the office on May 10 due to the time spent (for the previous discussions) and it is also expected to take some time after that.”
She said the government and transition committee will consider moving the office promptly and smoothly, along with working-level discussions on concrete relocation plans.
The relocation of the presidential office to the Defense Ministry building in Yongsan, Seoul, is expected to take at least a month, including the moving of the Ministry of Defense and the creation of the office.
At Wednesday’s extraordinary cabinet meeting, the government approved 36 billion won ($29 million) out of 49.6 billion won estimated by Yoon’s office, excluding the cost of relocating departments related to the Korea-US joint training.
Prime Minister Kim Bu-gyeom, who presided over the meeting, said, “It is (being provided) to cooperate in the transition of the administration without a security gap.”
The reserve fund consists of 17.6 billion won under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, 11.8 billion won under the Ministry of National Defense and 6.6 billion won under the Presidential Security Service.
Previously, President-elect Yoon stated that a total of 49.6 billion won would be needed to relocate the office to the Ministry of National Defense. In comparison, the reserve fund for the first round is 13.6 billion won short of the amount proposed by Yoon.
The government will discuss additional requirements, such as the creation of the presidential office and the transfer of security service, in consideration of the end of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command training scheduled for the end of April.
By Shin Ji-hye (email@example.com)