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SEOUL: Having appointed a new unification minister days earlier, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said on Sunday that the ministry had focused too much on providing aid for North Korea in the past and needed to change.

The new minister Kim Yung-ho is a conservative scholar and outspoken critic human rights abuses in North Korea, which Yoon has sought to spotlight amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

“The Unification Ministry has been acting like the ministry of North Korea aid and it is wrong,” Yoon was quoted as telling staff in a statement issued by his press secretary. “It’s time for the unification ministry to change.”

Japan PM Kishida visits Seoul to forge closer ties amid North Korea threats

Yoon also urged the ministry to stand up for liberal democratic values and said unification should bring a “better and more human life” to people in the South and North.

In 2019, Kim wrote in an online column that the path to unification would open once North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s “regime is overthrown and North Korea is liberated.”

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