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Lee expected to conduct minor Cabinet reshuffle this week

All Headlines 15:36 August 28, 2011

SEOUL, Aug. 28 (Yonhap) -- President Lee Myung-bak is expected to conduct a minor Cabinet reshuffle, possibly including the minister in charge of North Korean affairs, as early as Monday before the National Assembly convenes next month, officials said Sunday.

The expected reshuffle is seen as Lee's latest attempt to revitalize his conservative ruling Grand National Party ahead of next year's parliamentary and presidential elections.

Presidential and ruling party officials have said that Lee will replace the Cabinet ministers concurrently holding parliamentary seats ahead of the parliament's new session.

Subject to the reshuffle are Special Affairs Minister Lee Jae-oh, Health Minister Chin Soo-hee and Culture Minister Choung Byoung-gug.

"The reshuffle is aimed at focusing on returning politicians-turned-ministers to the party," said a senior official at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

"Given the timetable of next month's parliamentary sessions, the reshuffle will be carried out tomorrow or by the end of this month," the official said on the condition of anonymity.

Other than the three ministers, Lee is also likely to consider replacing Unification Minister Hyun In-taek, people close to the matter said.

Talk of possibly replacing the hard-line unification minister had circulated in past reshuffles, but Lee was reportedly unwilling to swap Hyun out because it could signal the wrong message to North Korea.

Inter-Korean relations remain tense following the North's two military attacks on South Korea last year that killed a total of 50 people.

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