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New South Korean leader names former justice minister as new spy chief

New South Korean leader names former justice minister as new spy chief

South Korea's new President Lee Myung-bak appointed a former justice minister as his spy chief Thursday, Lee's office said.
Kim Sung-ho, who served under former President Roh Moo-hyun, was expected to go through a mandatory parliamentary hearing as early as next week before leading the National Intelligence Service. The single-chamber legislature does not have power to reject the appointment, however.
The announcement came amid a dispute between rival parties over Lee's first Cabinet lineup that has prevented him from officially forming it. Critics say several nominees are unfit for the job.
Three nominees resigned earlier this week following allegations of ethical lapses, including real-estate speculation, dealing a political blow to the new leader who was sworn in just four days ago.
The rival parties planned to vote Friday on whether to approve Lee's choice of prime minister, Han Seung-soo.
Han has been under fire for omitting an expensive apartment when reporting his personal assets _ a violation of an ethics law covering government officials. The National Assembly has the power to reject the prime minister-designate.
Kim will head the National Intelligence Service, an agency which has recently faced public criticism for leaking a document detailing former spy chief Kim Man-bok's secret trip to North Korea on the eve of the December presidential election.
The former NIS leader quit earlier this month over the scandal, in which he ordered his agency to give a newspaper the document with transcripts of conversations between him and his North Korean counterpart during his trip to the North's capital, Pyongyang.
He has said the trip was made to install a commemorative stone in front of a pine tree that Roh planted after a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in October _ the second summit between the two Koreas, which are still technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.


Updated : 2021-05-15 13:00 GMT+08:00