ROK president-elect nominates foreign, defense chiefs

2013-02-13 07:03:01 GMT2013-02-13 15:03:01(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

South Korea's President-elect Park Geun-hye named six ministers Wednesday, tapping her foreign policy adviser as foreign minister and a former Army general to lead the defense ministry.

Yun Byung-se, a former deputy foreign minister who has long advised Park on foreign policy issues and shaped her foreign policy pledges during the election campaign, was named as the top diplomat in the incoming Park administration.

Kim Byung-kwan, a retired Army general who also served as deputy commander of the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command, was named to be the next defense minister.

The two, along with Kim Jang-soo, a former defense minister recently appointed as the head of the national security office, will be tasked with overseeing foreign policy and security issues on the Korean peninsula and beyond.

Wednesday's nomination came earlier than expected, which local media and observers attributed to the newly highlighted importance of organizing a new national security lineup following the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s third nuclear test a day ago.

Many see the widely condemned test as a challenge to Park, who has vowed to mend ties with the DPRK through what she calls a " trust-building process." She takes office later this month, replacing Lee Myung-bak, a hard-liner dubbed as a "pro-US fascist maniac" by Pyongyang's state media.

Park herself has strongly criticized the nuclear test, which she said would only further isolate the DPRK from the international community, and ordered creation of a task force devoted specifically to the DPRK's nuclear issues.

"The trust-building process is a strategy based on strong deterrence, and not an appeasement policy," Park said during a meeting with her aides Wednesday, according to the presidential transition committee. "You can't build trust alone."

Park, meanwhile, appointed four other ministers for education, justice, public administration and culture, offering a clearer picture of the organizational layout of the new government.

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