South Korea Prez Moon sacks senior officials

In a major reshuffle, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has removed his chief of staff and two other senior aides today. Despite Moon sweeping the presidential election in May 2017 after his predecessor Park Geun-hye was ousted over a corruption scandal, his numbers went down in recent weeks, falling below 50 per cent for the first time. This happened amid growing discontent over slow growth and unemployment, and disappointment over promised social reforms that critics say have not materialised.

Following this, he has sacked some senior officials. Chief of staff Im Jong-seok announced his own dismissal to the media at the presidential Blue House and replacement by Noh Young-min, the South's ambassador to China and a former three-term lawmaker. 62-year-old Noh was a pro-democracy activist through the 1970s and 80s before entering politics in 2000 and eventually joining Moon's left-leaning Democratic Party. Moon also replaced his senior political affairs secretary and senior press secretary in the biggest reshuffle at the Blue House since he took office in May 2017.

The President has promised reforms of the powerful, family-controlled business groups that were embroiled in the Park scandal and to tackle widespread corruption. However, his critics accuse him of being fixated on trying to build a political legacy by improving ties with the North while overlooking much-needed social reforms at home.