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South Korean defence minister quits.

Summary: The president of South Korea has accepted the resignation of his defence minister following a North Korean attack.

The president of South Korea has accepted the resignation of his defence minister following criticism over the country's response to a North Korean attack.

Minister Kim Tae-young had tended his resignation in May after criticism over the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel, the Cheonan, in March, also blamed on North Korea. Forty-six South Korean sailors were killed in the attack.

President Lee Myung-bak only accepted the resignation on Thursday "to improve the atmosphere in the military and to handle the series of incidents", a presidential official said.

North Korea fired a barrage of artillery shells at the island of Yeonpyeong off the peninsula's west coast on Tuesday, killing two civilians and two soldiers and destroying dozens of houses. Members of Lee's own party and opposition lawmakers accused the military of responding too slowly.

The government was also criticised for its perceived weak response to the Cheonan incident. North Korea has denied responsibility for that attack.

Seoul said it would increase troops on islands near North Korea after the bombardment.

Independent Television News Limited 2010. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Nov 25, 2010
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