February 25, 2024

Yoon hires hawkish ex-defense minister whom North Korea wanted killed

Kim Kwang-jin tapped as deputy head of new committee on ensuring ‘overwhelming’ responses to DPRK threats

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol established a new committee on Thursday charged with guaranteeing “overwhelming” military power for countering North Korean missile and nuclear threats, stating that Seoul must deter the DPRK’s “provocative mentality in advance.”

But overshadowing the announcement was Yoon’s selection of controversial former defense minister Kim Kwan-jin — a North Korea hardliner whose hawkish pronouncements once led Pyongyang to demand his execution — to serve as deputy head of the new Defense Innovation Committee.