South Korea considers reorganizing presidential office to strengthen economic security

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Dec. 19, 2023 7:55PM GMT+9

South Korea’s presidential office is exploring the possible benefits of reorganizing its national security sector as a means to strengthen the nation’s ability to safeguard its economic security, according to a South Korean news outlet on Monday.

On December 18, TV Chosun, a South Korean local broadcast media outlet, exclusively reported the internal discussion within the Office of the President. The report stated that President Yoon Suk-yeol mentioned the necessity of restructuring the Office of National Security in the chief secretary’s meeting, held on December 4.

President Yoon further suggested during the meeting that such restructuring will necessitate creating a new position, that of a third deputy director, to handle unconventional national security issues, especially those related to the economy. According to the report, President Yoon emphasized the economy as one of the three pillars, alongside diplomacy and defense, that constitute national security in the modern era.

The Office of National Security is comprised of two branches: the first deputy director and the second deputy director. Under the first deputy director, who oversees national security in diplomatic fields, the secretary to the president for national security strategy, foreign affairs, unification, and economic security is situated. The second deputy director of national security is primarily concerned with defense and works with security to the president for national defense, cybersecurity, and the director of national crisis management center.

The South Korean news outlet, Segye Ilbo, reported on the possible reorganization on December 19, stating that the secretary to the president for economic security and cybersecurity could be relocated under the new branch.

President Yoon has stressed the importance of economic security since the start of his presidential term, establishing the new position of secretary to the president for economic security under the first deputy director. The South Korean government even pointed out the economy as one of the national security challenges confronting the nation in the National Security Strategy, a statement issued last June, contemporaneous with North Korea’s advancement in nuclear weapon and missile capabilities and the conflict between the United States and China.

“Tensions over economic security among major countries have led to the weaponization of industries and resources and the fragmentation of global supply chains,” the National Security Strategy stated. “The supply chain crisis has been further exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, causing disruptions in the supply of energy, food, and raw material, and undermining the global economy.”

The cover image of this article was designed by Areum Hwang. This article was copyedited by Arthur Gregory Willers.

Kuksung Nam is a journalist for The Readable. She has extensively traversed the globe to cover the latest stories on the cyber threat landscape and has been producing in-depth stories on security and privacy by engaging with industry giants, foreign government officials and experts. Before joining The Readable, Kuksung reported on politics for one of South Korea’s top-five local newspapers, The Kyeongin Ilbo. Her journalistic skills and reportage earned her the coveted Journalists Association of Korea award in 2021 for her essay detailing exclusive stories about the misconduct of a former government official. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, a testament to her linguistic capabilities.