(Refiles with changes to bullet points)
* Former vice finance minister appointed deputy PM and
* New security adviser has already met U.S. officials
By Christine Kim and Ju-min Park
SEOUL, May 21 South Korea President Moon Jae-in
named the finance minister, foreign minister, and top security
advisor for his new government on Sunday, as it faces challenges
nurturing economic recovery, soothing ties with China and
dealing with North Korea.
Moon told a media briefing that he had nominated former vice
finance minister Kim Dong-yeon as deputy prime minister and
finance minister, while a United Nations senior adviser on
policy Kang Kyung-wha was tapped as the next foreign minister.
Elected earlier this month after a graft scandal brought
down his predecessor, Moon stressed the need to improve
conditions for ordinary people, with his government needing to
put more life into a sluggish economic recovery.
"Our new government has begun work amid unprecedented low
growth, economic polarisation and economic hardships for the
working class," Moon said.
Kim, the president's pick for the finance portfolio, is
known for his attention to detail and humble personal
background. Two finance ministry officials told Reuters his
appointment would be well received in the ministry.
The new administration also faces diplomatic challenges,
soothing ties with China, the biggest buyer of South Korean
goods, after they became strained by the deployment of U.S.
THAAD anti-missile system, as well as increased tensions over
North Korea's missile and nuclear threats.
Kang, the woman chosen to be foreign minister, has an
extensive career in the ministry and at the United Nations, said
the president. Moon said her appointment gave "great meaning" to
gender equality among his cabinet.
His nominees for ministerial posts have to attend a
parliamentary hearing before they can officially take up their
Chung Eui-yong, a top foreign policy adviser during the
presidential election campaign, was named as the president's
national security adviser.
Chung met with U.S. President Donald Trump's security
advisers last week to discuss an upcoming summit and North
Korea's nuclear issues.
Chung told Reuters earlier that although the alliance of
U.S. and South Korea is crucial, the process to deploy U.S.
anti-missile system THAAD should be reviewed under Moon's
THAAD has been deployed in South Korea since April and its
presence has spurred diplomatic rifts with China and the United
"I believe one of the most important aspects the country's
security adviser should have is a firm mind on security and
diplomatic abilities when we face diplomatic and economic issues
tied together, including North Korea's nuclear programme, THAAD
and free trade agreements," said Moon. "Chung is the right man."
The South Korean president also named Moon Chung-in, a
leading advocate of engagement policies on North Korea, as a
special aide on diplomacy and security.
Moon, a professor at Yonsei University in Seoul, accompanied
former presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun on their summits
with North Korea's then-leader Kim Jong Il in 2000 and 2007.
The president has said if conditions are ripe he can meet
North Korea's current leader Kim Jong Un.
Moon's special envoy to Washington Hong Seok-hyun, a former
ambassador to the United States, was also named as a special
presidential aide on diplomacy and security.
(Reporting by Christine Kim and Ju-min Park; Editing by Simon