S Korea president replaces finance minister

South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL - South Korean President Park Geun-Hye replaced her minister in charge of economic affairs Monday in a cabinet revamp affecting five ministers.

Yoo Il-Ho, a ruling party lawmaker, replaced 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.

Park's administration was sharply criticised over its response, prompting her to overhaul national safety standards and procedures.

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

The president's office described 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 percent in the third quarter, and the Bank of Korea has predicted GDP growth of 2.7 percent for the whole of 2015.

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