Yoon Sok-yeol changed top conservatives in South Korea’s policy towards Pyongyang

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The media announced the next reshuffle in advance, also indicating that the most important replacement would be the appearance of a new head of the Republic of Korea’s Unification Ministry – the department which, within the southern government -Korean, is responsible for communications and policy. to Pyongyang.

As is clear from the content of the statement made today by the Head of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kim Dae Gi, the journalists were not mistaken in their predictions. Kim Yong-ho, 63, a professor at Sunsil Women’s University, was named head of the unification ministry, and lawyer Kim Hong-il, who was also the former head of the prosecutor’s office city of Busan, became the new head of the Civil Rights and Anti-Corruption Commission. Since this Commission is equivalent to a ministry, two ministers have been replaced.

In addition, 12 officials at the deputy minister level were replaced at the same time. So, new “deputies” appeared in the following ministries – foreign affairs (2nd deputy), association, plan and finance (2nd deputy), science and technology (1st deputy), sports, culture and tourism (2nd deputy). deputies), agriculture and livestock, environmental protection, employment and labor, land resources and transport (1st and 2nd deputies), maritime affairs and fisheries, small, medium and risk enterprises.

Somewhat unusual was the appointment as 2nd Vice Minister of Sports, Culture and Tourism of 40-year-old Jang Mi-ran, who was still known as the 2008 Olympic weightlifting champion. Jang was very popular in the country, after the end of his sports career, he began to teach at Yongin Sports University, and now he has been given a responsible position in the government.
Policy analysts note, however, that the ongoing reshuffles, while on the whole are of an “in-service” nature, can be said to be serious reforms in one area. We are talking about Seoul’s policy towards Pyongyang. In addition to the already mentioned head of the unification ministry, a new deputy minister, Moon Seung-hyun, who is a career diplomat and was previously ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Thailand, and previously headed the US Department of Foreign Affairs Foreign Ministry , was also appointed to the department. At the same time, the conservative of the policy towards the DPRK in the presidential administration, the Secretary for Unification Affairs, has also changed. They became professors at Hanshin Kim Su-kyung University. As a result, it turned out that at the same time there were replacements of three main figures at once, who were responsible for the development of Seoul’s policy towards North Korea.

If we look at the characteristics of these officials, then we can talk about a consistent approach in their selection, and with a high degree of probability we can make assumptions about how the southern line will develop in relation to the north. Thus, the new unification minister Kim Yong-ho is known as a specialist in the history of the Korean War and is considered one of the main “hawks” among DPRK experts. Once he embraced left-wing views and even managed to serve 10 months for violating national security law, but after studying in the United States he abruptly changed direction, joining the ranks of conservatives, becoming a supporter of the pressure line on the DPRK. Kim was an active YouTube channel, which is still very popular among conservatives. Recently, he actively participated in the development of the line of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Yun Sok-yeol in relation to the DPRK.

His deputy, former ROK ambassador to Thailand Moon Seung-hyun, is known as a well-connected person in the United States and also served as foreign policy secretary in the administration of conservative President Park Geun-hye. Moon criticized South Korean Democratic presidents’ attempts to cooperate with Pyongyang and reach a peace treaty. By the way, this is the first case where a career diplomat has been appointed deputy minister of the association.

The new secretary for unification in the presidential administration is also revealing. Professor Kim Su-kyung is a leading apologist for the need to discuss the problem of human rights abuses in the DPRK and is also inclined to take a hard line against Pyongyang.

President Yun Sok-yeol’s government has already built relations with Pyongyang from the standpoint of tenacity, pressure, intransigence, demanding that the DPRK first take steps to renounce nuclear weapons, and then only begin to talk about the possibility of cooperation. The new conservatives’ personal views suggest that the focus will be on toughness and pressure, and Seoul as a whole is in no mood to seek compromises or points of rapprochement with Pyongyang. All this will be done in active contact and cooperation with the United States, for this purpose a native of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who actively communicated with the Americans in diplomatic work, was appointed deputy minister of the association. Considering that the “hawks” have also dominated the South Korean foreign policy leadership in Pyongyang recently, one can only predict the future deterioration and aggravation of inter-Korean relations, when the South and the North try to respond to strength by strength for each other . For the region, this promises a new cycle of tension, up to possible armed clashes between southerners and northerners.

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