SOUTH KOREA: PRESIDENT KIM DAE JUNG ANNOUNCES CABINET RESHUFFLE IN WAKE OF RECENT NAVAL CLASH WITH NORTH KOREARecord ID: 639685
- Title: SOUTH KOREA: PRESIDENT KIM DAE JUNG ANNOUNCES CABINET RESHUFFLE IN WAKE OF RECENT NAVAL CLASH WITH NORTH KOREA
- Date: 11th July 2002
- Summary: (U3) SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (JULY 11, 2002) (REUTERS) BACK VIEW: INARGURATION CEREMONY FOR PRIME MINISTER SV: NEWLY APPOINTED PRIME MINISTER CHANG SANG WS: MORE OF CEREMONY GV: MINISTERS SV'S PRIME MINISTER CHANG SHAKING HANDS WITH OFFICIALS (2 SHOTS)
- Reuters ID: LVA4XLWEGSNM0JY7UFMR397CT37Q
- Location: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
- Country: South Korea
- Duration: 00:00:28
- Topics: Conflict,General,Politics
- Story Text: Just a few months ahead of presidential elections, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung reshuffled his cabinet, including Defence Minister, in the wake of the recent naval clash with North Korea.
President Kim Dae-jung picked South Korea's first female prime minister on Thursday (July 11, 2002) and replaced six other ministers in a reshuffle seen as a bid to boost the government's image before December presidential polls.
The appointment of Prime Minister Chang Sang, a Princeton-educated former university dean, at the top of a list of largely non-politician technocrats was designed to restore faith in Kim's administration after a spate of scandals.
South Korea's 48 million people will elect a successor to the 77-year-old Kim on December 19. He is barred by the constitution from seeking a second five-year term.
"This reshuffle chose reformist persons with expertise to raise the stability and efficiency of governance in accordance with the public's wishes," the chief presidential secretary, Park Jie-won, told reporters.
The chief presidential secretary said Chang, a 62 year-old theologian from outside Kim's party, replaced veteran politician Lee Han-dong in the largely ceremonial prime minister's job.
The defence minister, criticised over last month's naval clash with North Korea, was also replaced in the reshuffle of the 18-member cabinet.
"Former Defence Minister Kim Dong-shin has seriously expressed his responsibility that various controversies should not affect the military any more after the naval clash at the West Sea," said Park.
President Kim named as defence minister Lee Jun, 62, a retired army general, head of the ministry's reform committee and an official in the governing Millennium Democratic Party (MDP).
Lee's predecessor, Kim Dong-shin, came under fire for what the navy acknowledged was a tardy response to a June 29 naval attack by North Korea which killed four South Korean sailors and left one missing.
Both the MDP and the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) had demanded the sacking of a senior official over the worst clash between the two Koreas in three years.
Both ruling and opposition parties and a vocal South Korean media had called for a non-partisan, technocratic cabinet ahead of both the presidential election and by-elections next month for 13 members of parliament that could give the opposition outright control of the National Assembly.
The cabinet changes comes just weeks before August 8 by-elections to fill 13 seats in the 273-seat legislature.
The conservative GNP now holds 130 seats, half of the 260 National Assembly seats currently occupied, and next month's by-elections could hand it control of the assembly. The GNP won a landslide in June polls for city mayors and provincial governors.
The GNP victories last month were seen as a show of antipathy to the governing MDP after the president's family scandals. Two of the president's sons have been arrested and indicted on influence-peddling and tax evasion charges.
The two Koreas are technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in an armed truce.
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