Prime Minister-designate Lee Nak-yon hinted on Thursday that he would play a pivotal role in strengthening the new government's communication with citizens.
With his folksy demeanor and wide personal connections, the South Jeolla Province governor said he hopes to become a "premier who is loved by the citizens and always thinks about their well-being."
"What I am concerned about now is when I can meet all these (citizens) to drink 'makgeolli' with," he told reporters, referring to the Korean traditional rice wine.
"As long as my health permits, I will drink several reservoirs (of makgeolli)," he added in jest.
President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday named the former journalist and four-term lawmaker for the government's No. 2 post.
Communication with citizens has been a top priority for the new government as the former Park Geun-hye government drew much flak for being "uncommunicative" in the formulation and implementation of its key policies.
The new administration was launched Wednesday following Moon's widely expected win in Tuesday's election. The rare presidential by-election was triggered by the March 10 ouster of corruption-tainted former President Park Geun-hye.
During a press conference later in the day at his gubernatorial office, Lee stressed the importance of national unity in addressing a series of social, economic, diplomatic and security challenges facing the country.
"The Republic of Korea faces the heavy tasks of evolving into a confident and peaceful nation by tiding over security and diplomatic crises and establishing a fair, righteous and balanced country by wiping out the evils of a bygone era," Lee said.
"The immediate task is to stabilize the livelihoods of ordinary citizens by creating more jobs, redressing unfairness and irregularities in every nook of our society. ... This task must be backed by national unity," he added.
Lee also used the press meeting to apologize to provincial residents for failing to complete his gubernatorial term that ends next year.
"I came to the conclusion that I cannot turn a deaf ear to the nation's order for me to join the efforts to address pressing domestic and external issues facing the new government," Lee said.
A government motion to seek parliamentary approval for his nomination is expected to be submitted next Monday. His retirement ceremony is set to be held at the provincial office Friday. (Yonhap)