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South Korean president accepts resignation of Unification Minister
Updated: 2006-01-01 12:31

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has accepted the resignation of the country's Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, a presidential spokesman said Sunday.

Chung submitted his resignation Friday to Roh so he could take a position in the ruling Uri Party. Vice Unification Minister Rhee Bong-jo will replace Chung in the interim until a Cabinet reshuffle, said spokesman Kim Man-soo.

Chung, 52, served as chairman of the Uri Party before assuming the ministerial post, in which he spearheaded the South Korean government's efforts to further enhance reconciliation with North Korea.

The telegenic news anchor-turned-politican has been considered one of the most likely candidates for the 2007 presidential election to succeed Roh, whose term is set to expire in February 2008.

Local media have speculated that Lee Jong-seok, a key National Security Council official, or Choo Mi-ae, a judge-turned-politican, could be in line to succeed Chung. Both are considered reform-minded and supportive of Seoul's policy of engagement toward North Korea.

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