I am glad to meet you all. KCDC, the acronym for the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has become the name most trusted and cherished by our people. I wholeheartedly congratulate you on the KCDC’s upgrade to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), a stand-alone agency with higher status. My congratulations also go to KCDC Director Jung Eun-kyeong, one of the heroes of Korea’s globally emulated response to COVID-19, for her appointment as the first KDCA Commissioner.
I am very pleased to visit the KCDC a day before its official upgrade and to officially present the letter of appointment to the first KDCA Commissioner here in front of KCDC staff where you work.
As for me, I think this is the first appointment ceremony for a minister or vice minister post ever held outside of Cheong Wa Dae. Protocol-wise, it would have probably been more honorable to hold this ceremony there with more formalities. However, we have taken into account your situation; KCDC staff cannot afford to leave their posts even for a single moment now. Above all, we thought that it would be all the more meaningful to hold the first commissioner’s appointment ceremony with you taking part as the main players behind its upgrade to the KDCA. This was also Director Jung Eun-kyeong’s wish.
This upgrade to the KDCA is the policy of my Administration, but it has not come about through the Administration’s will alone. It has been made possible because of the people’s high expectations that the KCDC will protect their lives and safety by taking on a more comprehensive role with greater ability to bring infectious diseases under control. I believe you deserve to take boundless pride in this fact. I look forward to you working to live up to their expectations with a sense of responsibility that matches such pride.
I am always grateful to everyone at the KCDC and feel sorry for you at the same time. However, I will spare you lengthy words of appreciation and encouragement today. The KCDC has been raised to an independent government agency, and you all have been invited to the appointment ceremony of your first commissioner in consideration of the roles you have played in this upgrade. I hope you take these facts as tokens of the tremendous appreciation and encouragement that the people and I, as President, wish to offer you.
We do not know just how long we will have to endure the COVID-19 pandemic. I ask you to fulfill your roles till the pandemic ends, and with your Agency’s elevated stature, I hope you will play an even greater part. I would also like you to do all you can so that our people can return to their normal daily routines as soon as possible.