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Defense ministry pushes for new post focusing on NK threats: sources

Defense Ministry building in Yongsan-gu (Yonhap)
Defense Ministry building in Yongsan-gu (Yonhap)

South Korea's defense ministry is seeking to create a new policy post handling North Korea's military threats and abolish an existing one dedicated to promoting cross-border reconciliation, informed sources said Thursday.

The move came in line with the Yoon Suk-yeol administration's avowed stance to sternly deal with the North's nuclear and missile threats amid concerns about the possibility of the regime carrying out a nuclear test.

"The (new) defense policy bureau is designed with a focus on crisis management amid the evolving and shifting security conditions," a source said on the condition of anonymity.

Under the envisioned reorganization scheme, the ministry is pushing to install a director general-level official tasked with managing potential North Korea-driven security crisis, and remove the North Korea policy bureau that has focused largely on inter-Korean trust and cooperation, according to the sources.

Created in late 2017, the North Korea policy post is a product of the preceding liberal Moon Jae-in administration's initiative to promote cross-border rapprochement and foster lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The defense ministry has been consulting with the interior ministry over the organizational change, as the Yoon government seeks to beef up defense following Pyongyang's continued missile launches.

Last weekend, the North fired eight short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea in its 18th show of force this year. (Yonhap)

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