MOLIT Minister Won Among Promising Presidential Hopefuls
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MOLIT Minister Won Among Promising Presidential Hopefuls
He has been credited with restoring soured relationships with Japan amid feared rising solidarity among North Korea, China and Russia

04(Thu), Jan, 2024

Minister Won Hee-ryong of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOLIT) poses with MOLIT officials in front of the MOLIT building on Dec. 22 after delivering his farewell speech.

Minister Won Hee-ryong of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOLIT) is ending his one year and seven month stint as the first MOLIT minister of the President Yoon Suk-yeol administration. 

Minister Won has so far demonstrated his presence by normalizing steps related to real estate restrictions; coping with jeonse cheating and union issues; and implementing metropolitan transportation networks. He’s also constantly on the move in Korea and abroad. 

The President Yoon government and the ruling People Power Party badly need to secure a majority of parliamentary seats for the success of the current government. 

That means big shots like Minster Won are required. Political pundits predict that Minister Won might take on Chairman Lee Jae-myung of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) in his Incheon Gaeyang B constituency. The general election slated for April 2024. 

MOLIT and the Presidential Office said on Dec. 4 that former President Park Sang-woo of Korea Land and Housing Corp. (LH) was nominated to replace MOLIT Minister Won, and the latter is forecast to run for the general election.

Minster Won has a successful track record. He topped a national scholastic ability test, an entrance test for Seoul National University, and a judicial examination; held stints and positions, such as a prosecutor-turned lawyer; a three-time lawmaker; the chairman of the National Assembly Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Unification Committee; secretary-general of the Grand National Party, the predecessor of PPP; a supreme council member; 37th and 38th Jeju governor; and now “an overseas salesman” of MOLIT.

Minster Won has emerged as one of the promising presidential hopefuls. Won participated in PPP’s presidential primary after he quit his job as Jeju governor in 2021. 

MOLIT Minister Won Hee-ryong announces a roadmap for invigorating the “smart+ building” sector at Naver office in Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do, on Dec. 19. (Photos: MOLIT)

MOLIT Minister Won has been credited with carrying lots of state tasks, such as housing, transportation, livelihood of low-income people and social overhead capital since he took office in May 2022. 

Upon his inauguration, Minister Won has been lauded for devoting himself to coping with thorny issues and correcting malpractices, such as stumbling blocks in the reconstruction of houses, taxi fares, cargo union strikes, jeonse cheating, and malpractices by construction unions. 

He has attached priority to normalizing real estate policies. Minister Won has been praised for taking steps to tame skyrocketing housing prices, one of the former president Moon Jae-in government’s major policy failures. 

Won came up with a plan to stabilize public housing one month after his inauguration, in accordance with the President Yoon’s government policies of expanding supply through regulatory relaxation. 

Won has toured lots of countries, such as the United States, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Indonesia, Paraguay, Iraq and Poland to help Korean companies land construction and other industry orders. 

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