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Office of the President of the Republic of Korea

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Profile

Yoon Suk Yeol

President of the Republic of Korea

President Yoon Suk Yeol was inaugurated as the 20th President of the Republic of Korea on May 10, 2022. Having devoted himself to serving only the people and combating power-bred corruption, he had worked as a prosecutor for 26 years prior to taking office. Building upon the values of freedom, human rights, fairness and solidarity, he is working as President to create a country where the people are the rightful owners and a country that fulfills its responsibilities and is respected in the international community.

A prosecutor who combated corruption

President Yoon was born in Seoul on December 18, 1960. He studied at Seoul National University, where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in law. He began his career as prosecutor in 1994. He served as Chief of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office and was appointed as Prosecutor General in 2019.

With his creed – no allegiance to a person but to the Constitution – he was a prosecutor only guided by law and principles. He conducted corruption investigations into key figures of the administration.

President Yoon entered politics with the aim of making the Republic of Korea a country where freedom and creativity thrive, a country for future generations and the socially disadvantaged, and a country that fulfills its responsibilities and shares universal values with the international community. Driven by the people’s aspiration for the restoration of fairness and the rule of law, he was elected President in March 2022.

“I will reestablish liberal democracy, the rule of law and the value of fairness that cuts across all eras and generations in this country. I will ensure that everyone enjoys justice in their daily lives before they ever pause to ponder what justice means.” - Announcement of his candidacy for president, June 29, 2021

The value of freedom and solidarity

President Yoon is running the government with a firm commitment to the universal values of freedom, human rights and the rule of law. He also has a strong conviction that Korea should stand in solidarity with countries that share those values. Believing that economic prosperity blossoms where freedom is alive and well, President Yoon espouses “liberal democracy.” President Yoon places his trust in rationalism and intellectualism as they rely on science to reconcile differing opinions and positions to solve problems.

President Yoon hopes to work and stand in solidarity with countries that have achieved progress and innovation by respecting freedom and creativity. Based on this spirit of solidarity, his foreign affairs and national security policies for the Republic of Korea envision “a global pivotal state that contributes to freedom, peace and prosperity” of the international community. Under President Yoon’s leadership, Korea is increasing its contribution as a responsible member of the international community, including by expanding the official development assistance (ODA).

“Liberal democracy creates lasting peace, and peace is what safeguards our freedom. Peace is guaranteed when the international community that respects freedom and human rights comes together as one. ... It is incumbent upon us to take on a greater role befitting our stature as a global leader. We must actively protect and promote universal values and international norms that are based on freedom and respect for human rights.” - Inaugural Address, May 10, 2022

President Yoon strengthened the ROK-U.S. alliance. He expanded the scope of the alliance beyond security to incorporate industry, science and technology, and culture. In the Washington Declaration issued on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the ROK-U.S. alliance, he affirmed in the strongest possible language a combined defense posture based on the U.S.-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty. The Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) was created to operate the extended deterrence system under a specified plan. President Yoon declared that Japan is the Republic of Korea’s closest neighbor who shares the universal values of freedom, human rights and the rule of law and normalized the previously strained bilateral relations with Japan.

Moreover, President Yoon ushered in a new era of ROK-U.S.-Japan trilateral cooperation. Through the joint statements at the historic “Camp David” summit, President Yoon proclaimed that the three countries will be at the forefront of promoting security and prosperity not only on the Korean Peninsula but also in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

Korea’s No. 1 Salesperson

President Yoon has been working hard and relentlessly to stabilize people’s livelihoods and restore the free market economy in the face of the global polycrisis. As Korea’s No. 1 Salesperson, he solidified the foundation for trade and investment as well as industrial and technological cooperation with major countries through economic and sales diplomacy. The President reformed the nation’s R&D policy and provided a larger playing field to help researchers take on challenges to the fullest without fearing failure through innovative research that aims to be the best in the world. He formed a “semiconductor alliance,” addressed large-scale export risks and helped attract record-high amount of foreign direct investment.

In 2023, the current account surplus exceeded US$35.4 billion, and the Korean economy remains focused on exploring new markets to usher in an era of US$700 billion in exports. The Economist ranked Korea’s economic performance 2nd among the 35 OECD countries in an appraisal that compiled data on five economic and financial indicators, including GDP, inflation, jobs and stock market performance.

“I have placed the economy at the center of diplomacy and crisscrossed the globe unceasingly with many businesspeople because I believe that overseas trips are all about creating jobs and making people’s lives better.” - Opening remarks at the 55th Cabinet Meeting, December 26, 2023

A compassionate government that solves problems

President Yoon is making efforts to provide future generations with new opportunities through three major structural reforms: labor, education and pension. President Yoon helped establish fairness and the rule of law to stamp out the illegalities and corruption of special-interest cartels. While guaranteeing legitimate labor movements, the government has strictly responded to illegal activities – whether perpetrated by labor or management. As a result, the number of working days lost to strikes has been reduced to one-third of the average under previous governments.

Among President Yoon’s top priorities in state affairs are overcoming the population crisis indicated by the low fertility rate and resolving the problems resulting from an aging population. Consideration and assistance for the underprivileged is another key policy. Low-income households, seniors and people with disabilities have received more intensive support for incomes, jobs and caregiving services. The government is pushing bold medical reforms, including the expansion of the medical workforce, so that people can receive sufficient medical services anytime, anywhere.

“The government will endeavor to make protecting the weak our welfare policy’s foremost objective and ensure that government support reaches every single person in need. I believe this is in the interest of our future.” - Address to the National Assembly on the Government Budget Proposal and
Related Policies for 2024, October 31, 2023

A global first mover

President Yoon is strongly promoting cutting-edge science and technology as well as future industries. The government is responding to global competition by providing world-class tax incentives for national strategic technologies used in such industries as semiconductors, rechargeable batteries and bio-health along with the designation of special complexes and R&D support. The Yoon administration restored the nuclear power plant ecosystem, and successfully launched the KSLV-II (Nuri) and KPLO (Danuri), bringing Korea into the realm of the world’s top seven space powers.

Amid the great global transformation caused by deepening digitalization, President Yoon presented the international community with the need for a new digital order and specific initiatives to that end. Through the declaration of his New York and Paris initiatives and address to the 78th U.N. General Assembly, he stressed that digital technology should contribute to the advancement of freedom and welfare for humanity and that it is necessary to establish global norms for this purpose. Having declared the Digital Bill of Rights, the government is working to establish global digital norms, including the establishment of a relevant international organization.

“The government and I will do everything we can to help the Republic of Korea lead the world with cutting-edge science and technology and surge ahead as a first mover.” - Remarks at the 12th Public Policy Dialogue, February 16, 2024

Highlights

As of March, 2024

2024

  • 2024.03

    Opened the Great Train Express (GTX) A line (Dongtan – Suseo)

  • 2024.03

    Co-hosted the 3rd Summit for Democracy

  • 2024.02

    Initiated medical reform to respond to a super-aged society

  • 2024.01

    Promulgated the special act on the establishment of the Korea Aerospace Administration (KASA)

2023

  • 2023.

    Korea registered its highest employment rate (62.6%), lowest unemployment rate (2.7%) and largest foreign direct investment (US$32.7 billion)

  • 2023.08

    Attended the first-ever stand-alone ROK-U.S.-Japan Trilateral Summit at “Camp David” and adopted the joint statements

  • 2023.07

    To strengthen government accountability regarding adoption, revised Act on Special Cases Concerning Adoption and promulgated a law for international adoption

  • 2023.05

    Restored shuttle diplomacy between Korea and Japan

  • 2023.04

    Paid a state visit to the United States for the first time in 12 years and adopted the “Washington Declaration”

2022

  • 2022.12

    Korea successfully launched and placed into orbit KPLO (Danuri), its 1st (and the world’s 7th) lunar orbiter

  • 2022.10

    Co-hosted the 1st World Bio Summit with the WHO

  • 2022.06

    First Korean president to attend a NATO summit

  • 2022.05

    Office of the President relocated to Yongsan. Former presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, known as the Blue House, was returned to the public

Career

2010 ~ 2022

  • 2022.05

    20th President of the Republic of Korea

  • 2022.03

    20th President-elect of the Republic of Korea

  • 2019.07

    Prosecutor General, Supreme Prosecutors’ Office

  • 2017.05

    Chief Prosecutor, Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office

  • 2013.04

    Chief Prosecutor, Yeoju Branch, Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office

  • 2011.09

    Chief Prosecutor, Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office & Chief of 1 st Central Investigation Division, Supreme Prosecutors’ Office (concurrently)

2001 ~ 2009

  • 2009.01

    Chief Prosecutor, Special Investigation Department, Daegu District Prosecutors’ Office

  • 2008.01

    Dispatched to Special Prosecutor’s Office to investigate crimes allegedly committed by the Grand National Party’s presidential candidate

  • 2007.03

    Prosecution Research Officer, Supreme Prosecutors’ Office

  • 2002.01

    Attorney, Bae, Kim & Lee LLC

1990 ~ 1999

  • 1999. 03

    Prosecutor, Seoul District Prosecutors’ Office

  • 1994.03

    Prosecutor, Daegu District Prosecutors’ Office

  • 1994.02

    Graduated from the 23rd Class of Judicial Research & Training Institute

  • 1991.10

    Passed the 33rd Bar Examination

Education

  • 1988.

    MA in Law, School of Law, Seoul National University

  • 1983.

    BA in Law, Department of Law, Seoul National University

Awards

  • 2023.10

    The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award

  • 2023.07

    The Order of the White Eagle, Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland