South Korea names new Prime Minister, Foreign Minister

South Korea has appointed a new Prime Minister and Finance Minister, as an investigation continues over allegations President Park Geun-hye let her friend meddle with state affairs.

  • Former senior presidential secretary named Prime Minister
  • Yim Jong-yong becomes South Korean Finance Minister
  • Probe underway into whether President Park Geun-hye’s friend used their relationship to pull government strings
  • Ms Park’s approval ratings at record lows

The moves, which also include a new Minister of Public Safety and Security, were seen as an effort to soothe public anger over the scandal involving Park’s friend, Choi Soon-sil, who is in custody and under investigation by prosecutors.

The presidential office said it named Yim Jong-yong, the financial services commission chairman, as the new Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. He will replace incumbent minister, Yoo Il-ho, who has been well-regarded by policy makers and market participants in his current role.

The largely administrative prime minister’s role will be filled by Kim Byong-joon, a former senior presidential secretary for the former President of South Korea, Roh Moo-hyun. He will replace Hwang Kyo-ahn. Neither incumbent Mr Yoo and Mr Hwang have been implicated in the scandal, although Mr Yoo had been under pressure from opposition lawmakers over his close relationship with Ms Park.

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