President Moon Jae-in replaced vice ministers of diplomatic, defense and inter-Korean affairs simultaneously on Thursday amid a stalemate in the peace-building process and efforts to resolve a history dispute with Japan.
He appointed Cho Sei-young, chancellor of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, as first vice foreign minister, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
He is "a diplomat well-versed in Northeast Asia, especially Japan (issues) ... (He) is expected to lead the innovation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the basis of his leadership and proficiency that he showed while serving as chancellor of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy," Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung said.
Cho joined the ministry in 1984 and led its Northeast Asia bureau. He then worked as a professor at Dongseo University in Busan and chief of the school's Japan study center.
Last year, he was tapped for the vice ministerial position at the KNDA.
As for Suh Ho, the newly appointed vice unification minister, Ko pointed out that he has longtime experience and expertise on North Korea affairs and inter-Korean relations.
He has served as presidential secretary to Moon for unification policy.
The president promoted Park Jae-min, head of the office of military force and resources management at the Ministry of National Defense, to the post of vice defense minister.
As a career defense ministry official, Park has long handled such issues as budgets and organization management.
Moon also filled six other vice ministerial posts with new figures at government offices, including the science, transportation and agricultural ministries.
The move came as the president entered his third year in office earlier this month. He has three more years in his single term, with reelection prohibited under the Constitution.
The Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson said those appointed are deemed suitable for the posts as they "accurately" understand the Moon administration's undertakings. (Yonhap)