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S Korean defence minister offers to quit

Written by: Staff

SEOUL, Oct 24 (Reuters) The defence minister of South Korea, where tensions are running high over North Korea's recent nuclear test, has offered to resign, a presidential spokesman said today.

The presidential Blue House confirmed that Yoon Kwang-ung had tendered his resignation on Monday but declined to say why.

It also declined comment on whether or when the resignation would be accepted.

Yoon has only just returned from Washington where he held annual security talks last week with US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The South Korean news agency Yonhap cited an unnamed Blue House source as saying that President Roh Moo-hyun had already been expected to carry out a reshuffle of foreign policy and security officials next week.

Roh was set to name a successor to Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general designate, around November 1, Yonhap said.

Song Min-soon, Roh's top national security adviser, was strongly tipped to replace Ban, it added.

Yoon, 64, retired from the South Korean navy with the rank of vice-admiral in 2004 and took the defence minister's role.

Reuters BDP GC1540

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