The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae strongly dismissed media reports of a suspected blacklist aimed at ruling out certain government officials from future appointment Wednesday, apparently a sensitive issue to the administration that took office after its conservative predecessor was ousted partly for devising such a list.
"The term blacklist is being used too easily," Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said in a released statement dismissing the reports.
The statement came in response to earlier reports that suggested the Ministry of Environment may have drafted the so-called blacklist of government officials deemed unfit for government posts.
The former Park Geun-hye administration was ousted over a wide range of corruption charges that included drafting a blacklist of cultural figures believed to have been used to keep those considered critical to the former government away from state support or government-funded projects.
The Cheong Wa Dae spokesman claimed the list created by the environment ministry differed from the blacklist created under the former administration in nearly every aspect, insisting the ministry list only sought to identify those who are best suited to implement President Moon Jae-in's governing philosophy.
The reports have also suggested the ministry may have acted at instructions from the office of the secretary to the president for personnel affairs.
Kim apparently acknowledged such instructions from the secretary's office but said it was a "too natural" part of its job.
"The Cheong Wa Dae personnel office's job is to receive reports and discuss the direction of appointments of public organizations made by government ministries, including the environment ministry," he said in the released statement.
"Because the president is the one with the power to appoint the heads of public organizations, making sure the appointive power of a minister is being appropriately exercised is a too natural part of the personnel office's job," the spokesman added. (Yonhap)