January 21, 2013 12:11
President-elect Park Geun-hye is both Korea's first woman president and the first unmarried leader, which is causing some trouble for Cheong Wa Dae handlers of protocol concerning the first lady.
During the Lee Myung-bak administration, their office was in charge of first lady Kim Yoon-ok's pet project of publicizing Korean cuisine.
Officials close to Park say the office is likely to be shut down soon. Not only is Park single, but they are also in the way of her plans to streamline the presidential office.
But other aides say the office could instead be charged with charitable projects, since when Park was once acting first lady to her father Park Chung-hee after the assassination of her mother, she ran some projects looking after the needy.
Park is apparently considering letting the spouses of the prime minister and foreign minister handle the duties of a first lady chaperoning foreign leaders' spouses.
"The problem can be solved if the wife of the prime minister handles the duties of the first lady when foreign leaders visit Korea and have the wife of the foreign minister accompany the president on her overseas visits," said one Park aide. "We are checking if such alternatives are in line with protocol."
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