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Spy chief quits, 4th vacancy in security lineup

Oct 27,2006
Kim Seung-kyu, the head of the National Intelligence Service, handed in his resignation Thursday after 15 months at his post, the agency’s publicity office announced yesterday.
The chief spy resigned to avoid “being a burden to the president in shaping a new security and diplomacy cabinet,” the agency statement said.
Yoon Tae-young, President Roh Moo-hyun’s spokesman, suggested that the resignation, the third evidently linked to criticism of the administration’s North Korea policies, would be accepted quickly.
Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung said Monday that he was quitting, as did Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok on Wednesday. Separately, Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon will give up his post in mid-November to become the United Nations secretary general, giving Mr. Roh the opportunity to change almost his entire security and foreign affairs team. That new team will probably be in place by mid-November; Mr. Yoon said no announcements of successors would be made until after the National Assembly completes its annual hearings on cabinet agency operations. The new appointees must then appear at the Assembly for hearings. The Assembly cannot reject appointees for the defense, unification and foreign ministries, but must vote to confirm a new intelligence chief.
Mr. Roh’s spokesman also announced yesterday that the president would name four of his political allies to posts as “special advisers” for political affairs. The jobs, unpaid and honorary according to Mr. Yoon, went to Lee Hae-chan, a former prime minister whose unwise choice of golfing companions forced him to resign in March; Moon Jae-in, who resigned as a Blue House civil affairs aide in May; Oh Young-kyo, Mr. Roh’s home minister who resigned and ran unsuccessfully for a provincial governor’s post in May; and Cho Young-teck, formerly head of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, who also lost his bid for office in the local elections.
Earlier this week, Mr. Roh named Kim Byong-joon as the head of a policy planning advisory commission. He resigned from his education portfolio last summer after being accused of academic dishonesty. Mr. Yoon said the appointments were made to strengthen the political links between the Blue House and Mr. Roh’s Uri Party. He denied, however, that the underlying intent was to maintain the president’s influence in the party during the last year of his term.
Despite Blue House dismissals, rumors continue to circulate that the outgoing defense minister, Mr. Yoon, could be named to either the spy agency post or to the senior security job in the Blue House. The latter job would be vacant if, as rumor has it, Song Min-soon were named foreign minister.


by Chun Su-jin


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