South Korea’s Yoon picks ruling party lawmaker as new defense minister

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has named Shin Won-sik, a ruling party lawmaker and retired three-star general, as his new defense minister, the presidential office said on Wednesday.

The nomination comes amid North Korea’s numerous missile tests, including the latest one just hours earlier, and during North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“He (Shin) is the right person to… build our security capabilities against North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile threats, with a lot of experience in both defense policy and defense strategy,” Kim Dae-ki, Yoon’s chief of staff, said reporters.

Shin, a member of the People Power Party, said he would do his best to ensure people can live peacefully in the face of “serious security challenges.”

Yoon also replaced his culture and equality ministers, both of whom were on the organizing committee for last month’s World Scout Jamboree in South Korea, which was marked by safety and hygiene concerns.

All are subject to parliamentary confirmation hearings.

(Reporting by Hyunsu Yim, Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Christian Schmollinger)

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