From left, Yoo In-chon, Kim Haeng, and Shin Won-sik. [Photo by Yonhap]
President Yoon Suk Yeol on Wednesday announced a cabinet reshuffle, naming Shin Won-sik, a lawmaker from the People Power Party (PPP), as minister of national defense, Yoo In-chon, a special adviser for culture and sports, as minister of culture and Kim Haeng, a former member of the PPP’s emergency committee, as minister of gender equality and family.
During a briefing at the presidential office in Yongsan, Seoul, Kim Dae-ki, chief of staff to the president, introduced Shin as “a three-star general who served in the military for 35 years and held key positions such as director general for policy planning at the Ministry of National Defense, commander of the Army Capital Defense Command, and deputy chairman of the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff.” Kim added Shin is the right person to solidify security capabilities against the escalating nuclear missile threats and complete the nation’s Defense Innovation 4.0 strategy.
For his part, “I will make culture play a role in improving the quality of life for the people, which is most important,” Yoo said. “All the answers are on site. I plan to make sure that we can keep up with rapidly changing areas such as AI and chatbots.”
Although Yoon has pledged to abolish the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, Kim said that the bill to abolish the ministry was not passed at the National Assembly due to disapproval from the opposition party. He added that Kim Haeng has a lot of experience in political parties and the media and has great communication skills, making her the right person to lead the ministry in transition.
The three ministerial changes, which follow the previous month’s nomination of Bang Moon-kyu as minister of trade, industry and energy, mark Yoon‘s biggest reshuffle since taking office.
A senior official at the presidential office told Maeil Business Newspaper on Wednesday that the ministerial change at the Ministry of Defense does not mean a reprimand, noting that it would be an abandonment of duty if incumbent Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup had not taken over the command in reference to Lee’s order to withhold the report on the death of Marine Cpl. Chae Su-geun to the police.
“Lee has contributed a lot to defense exports and military diplomacy,” Kim added, suggesting possibilities for Lee to serve as an ambassador or presidential envoy to countries with high defense needs in the future.
Meanwhile, Yoon has said that he will accept the resignation of Lee and other ministers after relevant confirmation hearings.
By Park In-hye and Choi Jieun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]