South Korea’s Moon replaces defence chief in cabinet reshuffle
Changes made as Moon’s approval ratings fall to a record low 56 per cent
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday replaced his defence chief and four other ministers in a cabinet reshuffle after falling approval ratings in recent weeks.
Moon has driven a rapid diplomatic rapprochement with nuclear-armed North Korea, but defence minister Song Young-moo came under fire for mishandling a controversy over a defence intelligence unit.
In March, documents emerged detailing military plans to impose martial law against protesters demanding the ousting of Moon’s predecessor Park Geun-hye last year, but Song failed to report them to the presidential Blue House.
Moon named Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and air force General Jeong Kyeong-doo to replace him.
It is normal for South Korean defence ministers to be former top military officers, Song was previously an admiral.
Moon’s popularity rating soared to 83 per cent after his Panmunjom summit with the North’s leader Kim Jong-un in April.
It has since fallen to a record low of 56 per cent in a Realmeter survey last week amid mounting concerns over the economy.
Moon also named new ministers for education, industry, labour and gender equality in Thursday’s reshuffle.