(3rd LD) Yoon names new ministers of defense, culture, gender equality

President Yoon Suk Yeol nominated a ruling party lawmaker and former three-star Army general for defense minister Wednesday in a partial Cabinet shakeup that also affected the culture and gender equality ministers.

Rep. Shin Won-sik of the ruling People Power Party (PPP) was picked to replace Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup, while Yoo In-chon, special presidential adviser for culture and sports, was named the new culture minister, and Kim Haeng, a former PPP interim leadership member, was tapped for the new minister of gender equality and family, presidential chief of staff Kim Dae-ki said during a press briefing.

"As someone with an abundance of experience in both defense policy and operations, we determined that (Shin) would be the best person to build up our security capabilities in the face of North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats and complete our grand national defense plan, Defense Innovation 4.0," Kim said, referring to an initiative to make the military smarter using cutting-edge technologies.

Kim especially cited the nominee's 35 years of service in the Army, including as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his current position as ranking member of the parliamentary national defense committee.

On the culture minister nominee, Kim said Yoo is equipped to further promote Korean culture in the world, based on his long career in the culture and arts field and his previous stint as culture minister during the Lee Myung-bak administration.

Yoo is also well known as a TV and stage actor.

On the gender equality minister nominee, Kim said her excellent communication skills, together with her diverse background in media, politics and public institutions, will help her smoothly carry out the ministry's work ahead of its planned abolishment, a campaign pledge of Yoon.

Speaking at the same press briefing, Shin vowed to do his best to "make soldiers like soldiers and the military like the military."

"The security environment at home and abroad is very serious," he said. "Though I am lacking, if I become defense minister, I will fulfill my duties so that the people may live comfortably."

The outgoing defense minister reportedly expressed his intention to resign amid the main opposition party's push to impeach him over his handling of a military investigation into a young Marine's death.

Yoon does not plan to accept his resignation as doing so would create a security vacuum pending Shin's confirmation by the National Assembly, a senior presidential official told reporters on background.

Yoo, the culture minister nominee, told reporters he plans to devise policies in line with the rapidly changing environment and ensure culture plays a role in enhancing the quality of people's lives.

Kim, the gender equality minister nominee, said she will do her best to communicate actively with the people for as long as the ministry exists and carry out its unique responsibilities related to the dignity of life, values of family and the country's sustainability.

All Cabinet ministers must undergo a confirmation process at the National Assembly though parliamentary consent is not necessary for their appointment

Source: Yonhap News Agency