South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol has accepted the resignations of the chief of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and his two deputies, effectively sacking the top three officials at the spy agency in the wake of controversy over personnel affairs, Report informs referring to Yonhap.
Yoon accepted the resignations of NIS Director Kim Kyou-hyun, First Deputy Director Kwon Chun-taek and Second Deputy Director Kim Soo-youn, the presidential office said in a statement without giving details as to why they offered resignations and why Yoon accepted them.
The office only said that Kim worked to “reestablish the reputation of the NIS as the country’s top security and intelligence agency,” and “build a support system with intelligence institutions of friendly nations” during a period of administration change.
Yoon decided to name Hong Jang-won, who previously served as diplomatic minister at South Korea’s Embassy in London, to be the agency’s first deputy director and have him play the role of acting NIS director, the presidential office said.
Hwang Won-jin, who had been in charge of intelligence on North Korea at the NIS, was named the second deputy director. The presidential office referred to Hong and Hwang as “top-notch experts well-versed in international and North Korean intelligence.”
Yoon’s decision to accept the resignations of the three officials right after returning from a trip to Britain and France earlier in the day was seen as reflecting his displeasure with controversy around personnel management at the agency.
Yoon has not yet named Kim’s successor, whose appointment will be subject to a confirmation hearing at the National Assembly.