Lee Han-dong to Continue S.Korean Premiership

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Han-dong will continue his premiership despite the breakup of the coalition between the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) and his United Liberal Democrats (ULD).

"Over the past three days, I have deeply pondered President Kim Dae-jung's earnest request for my remaining in office and finally concluded that it's my duty as a high-level public servant to follow President Kim's will," said a spokesman of the Prime Minister Office, citing Lee Thursday afternoon.

However, Lee said he will not abandon his ULD presidency as it is his duty to do his best as a ULD party member.

Lee submitted his resignation to President Kim Dae-jung Tuesday one day after the South Korean parliament passed a no-confidence motion against Unification Minister Lim Dong-won Monday for his approval of a civic South Korean delegation to Pyongyang last month for the 56th anniversary of the Liberation Day from the Japanese colonial rule.

The opposition Grand National Party submitted the motion last month against Lim, who is the top lieutenant of President Kim sunshine policy toward the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The MDP steadfastly defended Lim but the ULD unexpectedly sided with the opposition in a parliamentary vote, leading to the political breakup between the two parties. Lee and four other cabinet ministers are from the ULD.

President Kim is expected to announce his reshuffled cabinet, senior presidential secretariate team and MDP leadership Friday. The cabinet, team and leadership offered resignations en masse Tuesday after the parliamentary passage of the motion.

People's Daily Online --- http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/