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Cho Sang-joon of NIS suddenly resigns

Posted October. 27, 2022 07:51,   

Updated October. 27, 2022 07:51


Cho Sang-joon, the head of the Planning and Coordination Office of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), who is considered to be one of the closest advisors of President Yoon Suk-yeol, suddenly submitted a letter of resignation on Tuesday, which the president immediately approved in the evening of the same day.

During a briefing on Wednesday, the president’s office announced that Cho indicated his intention to resign to a relevant secretary of the office. The office reported the matter to the president and relayed the message to the NIS chief. “President Yoon accepted the resignation in the evening of the same day,” said an official of the president’s office. “The resignation is effective as of today.”

The NIS’ Planning and Coordination Office head is one of the key positions overseeing personnel matters and the intelligence agency’s budget. Mr. Cho had worked as the head of the criminal department in the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office when President Yoon headed the organization as the prosecutor general. The sudden resignation of Mr. Cho, which took place only four months after his appointment and just one day before the parliamentary inspection, triggered a swathe of controversies over what motivated his action.

Some of the ruling party members suggested that there had been differences of opinion between the former deputy director and NIS chief Kim Kyu-hyun on the directions of personnel matters and internal reform of the agency. However, many assume that considering the president’s trust in Mr. Cho, the real reason for departing the intelligence agency would have stemmed from his issues. It is said that President Yoon immediately accepted the resignation, deeply disappointed by Cho when his issues emerged.

Su-Young Hong gaea@donga.com · Joo-Young Jeon aimhigh@donga.com