Shakeup of cabinet may topple leading domestic ministers

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Shakeup of cabinet may topple leading domestic ministers

Within the week President Kim Dae-jung will overhaul the cabinet, a high-ranking Blue House official reported Sunday.

The changes are expected to be sweeping, aides said. Among the heads that may roll are those of the prime minister, Lee Han-dong, and the deputy prime minister for finance and the economy, Jin Nyum.

Mr. Kim is also expected to replace Lee Ki-ho, senior secretary for economic affairs at the Blue House, who reportedly made introductions for the president's nephew when he was seeking government support for a treasure hunt connected to the Lee Yong-ho scandal. Mr. Lee is expected to resign.

The overhaul is described as forced by political deadlock. Involvement of high-ranking officials in a recent series of scandals meant, analysts said, that President Kim could no longer postpone the changes, lest the continuing investigation delve out the names of other officials.

Some staff members of the Presidential Secretariat will be reassigned, the president's aides said.

Hahn Seung-hun, former chairman of Board of Audit and Inspection could replace Prime Minister Lee, Blue House officials said.

In addition to Mr. Jin, other economy-related officials could be replaced, ruling-party sources said. The president is said to be considering reassigning several ministers who are party members, including the health and welfare minister. Han Wan-sang, deputy prime minister for education and human resources development, could be made to pay the price for the difficult College Scholastic Ability Test that angered students and parents last year.

But the shakeup will be less sweeping in the ministries involved with unification and foreign affairs. Han Seung-soo, minister of foreign affairs and trade, who will visit the United States between Monday and Feb. 4 to participate in the World Economic Forum, is expected to remain in his post.

by Chun Young-gi

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