South Korea Names New Defense Minister After Resignation

VOA News 26 November 2010

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has named a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as his new defense minister.

Officials say retired general Kim Kwan-jin replaces Kim Tae-young, who resigned Thursday, following criticism of a slow response to Tuesday’s deadly North Korean artillery attack.

Also on Friday, the American commander of United Nations Command, General Walter L. Sharp, visited the island of Yeonpyeong to speak with military commanders and observe the damage caused by the North’s attack.

He called for the North to refrain from more attacks and meet with the U.N. Command immediately to discuss the incident.

The North’s state Korean Central News Agency turned up the rhetoric Friday, saying joint South Korea – U.S. drills are a reckless plan by “trigger-happy elements” aimed at North Korea. Pyongyang has used such language frequently in the past to condemn military exercises in South Korea.

Fresh artillery fire was heard in the North Friday, but a spokesman for the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said no projectiles landed on South Korean territory.

Two South Korean marines and two civilians were killed and at least 18 people were wounded in the attack on Yeonpyeong near the disputed border in the Yellow Sea.


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