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New Minister Candidates Short-Listed

Posted October. 30, 2006 07:03,   


It was reported yesterday that candidates for the successor to Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok who recently expressed his intention to resign were narrowed down to Kim Ha-joong, the Korean Ambassador to China, and Lee Jae-joung, senior vice-chairman of The National Unification Advisory Council; the successor to National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director Kim Seung-gyu, Kim Man-bok, First Deputy Director of the NIS, Yoon Kwang-ung, National Defense Minister, and Lee Jong-baek, head of the Seoul District Prosecutors’ Office.

It was also reported that the Army Chief of Staff Kim Jang-soo and the former Air Force Vice-chief of Staff Bae Yang-il from the military, and Uri Party legislator Chang Young-dal, who was the National Defense Commission Chairman of the National Assembly, were nominated as candidates in succession to Defense Minister Yoon. Chang is a National Defense Minister candidate from the civilian world.

Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, designated as the next UN Secretary-General, is highly likely to be succeeded by Song Min-soon, chief presidential security aide, while Ambassador Kim and Vice-minister of Foreign Affairs Yoo Myung-hwan have also been nominated as candidates.

President Roh Moo-hyun is planning to announce the lineup of a new foreign affairs and security cabinet around November 2, when parliamentary inspection of the government offices finishes.

In case that Song is appointed to the Foreign Affairs Minister, prospects for the chief of security advisor are Ambassador Kim, Lee Soo-hyuk, Korean Ambassador to Germany, and Seo Joo-seok, Presidential Chief Secretary for diplomacy policy.

An official in Cheong Wa Dae said, “Candidates for each minister post has been short-listed to two to three, who we placed on the same level to review and verify.”

However, it is reported that Roh will not include in the cabinet reshuffle this time Construction and Transportation Minister Choo Byung-jik, who is being blamed due to the abrupt announcement of new town development plan, resulting in a sharp rise in real estate prices.

A Cheong Wa Dae official said, “It is true that Choo made the announcement in an improper way. But we don’t think Choo should hold himself responsible for it. Even for him to prepare the follow-up measures, this cabinet reshuffle won’t include him.”

There is much possibility that Choo will be replaced at the end of this year or early next year together with the politician-to-be-ministers who would be returning to the party.

Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Yoon Tae-young said about the press report connecting Kim Seung-gyu’s resignation to the espionage incidence under the NIS’s investigation, “It must be groundless and nonsense.”