South Korea President replaces Finance Minister

Mr Yoo Il Ho was appointed South Korea's new finance minister on Monday, Dec 21, 2015.
Mr Yoo Il Ho was appointed South Korea's new finance minister on Monday, Dec 21, 2015. PHOTO: EPA/YONHAP

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korean President Park Geun Hye replaced her minister in charge of economic affairs Monday (Dec 21) in a Cabinet revamp affecting five ministers.

Mr Yoo Il Ho, a ruling party lawmaker, replaced Mr Choi Kyoung Hwan, who took up the post in June last year following a previous reshuffle triggered by the April 2014 Sewol ferry disaster, which claimed nearly 300 lives, mostly schoolchildren.

The tragedy stunned South Korea and unleashed a wave of public anger as it emerged that incompetence and corruption and had contributed to the scale of the disaster. Ms Park's administration was sharply criticised over its response, prompting her to overhaul national safety standards and procedures.

In Monday's shake-up, Ms Park also named four other new ministers responsible for education, trade, gender equality and national administration.

The President's office described Mr Yoo, 60, a former transport minister, as "the right person who will successfully carry out economic policy and push for economic revitalisation".

Asia's fourth-largest economy expanded by 1.3 per cent in the third quarter, and the Bank of Korea has predicted GDP growth of 2.7 per cent for the whole of 2015.