South Korean president replaces top officials

Seoul, Oct 19 (IANS) South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Monday carried out a partial cabinet reshuffle by replacing two ministers, six vice ministers and the senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs.

Park nominated Kang Ho-in, former chief of the Public Procurement Service, as transport minister and Vice Maritime Minister Kim Young-suk to lead the ministry, Yonhap News Agency quoted the presidential office as saying.

Park also sacked Ju Chul-ki, senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs. Public criticism has grown over the Park administration’s handling of the US refusal to transfer some key technologies necessary for South Korea’s fighter jet development project, code-named KF-X.

Accompanying Park on her visit to Washington last week, Defence Minister Han Min-Koo tried unsuccessfully to persuade the Pentagon to avert its decision.

Ju earlier offered to resign to take the responsibility for the setback in the KF-X programme, media reports said.

Kim Kyou-hyun, deputy chief of the presidential office of national security, will succeed him.

Park named ambassador to Britain Lim Sung-nam as vice foreign minister and Hwang In-moo, former deputy Army chief of staff, as vice defence minister.

Four other vice ministers at the finance, education, health and maritime ministries were replaced as well.

The personnel management, which came about half a year ahead of general elections, is “intended for an effective push for state affairs and reform measures,” said Kim Sung-woo, chief presidential press secretary.

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