SEOUL -- South Korea's parliament on Thursday passed a bill on government reorganization after days of tough negotiations, giving a boost to President Moon Jae-in's efforts to complete his nascent administration.
The approval came hours after the ruling and opposition parties reached an agreement over the details of the bill.
Under the agreement, the Small and Medium Business Administration will be elevated to a ministry supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises, venture startups and micro-businesses.
A new vice-ministerial trade negotiations bureau will be installed in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, while the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning will be given a new name, roughly translated as the Ministry of Science, Technology, Information and Communications.
The renamed science ministry will have a vice-ministerial "science innovation headquarters."
The Ministry of Public Safety and Security will be dissolved while the Coast Guard and the fire service under the ministry will be separated to function as independent bodies.
The vice-ministerial chief of the Patriots and Veterans Affairs Ministry will be elevated to a minister, while the presidential security office will be retooled into the vice-ministerial organization.
During the parties' negotiations, the major bone of contention was a proposal to have the environment ministry take control of all water-related functions held by the land ministry. Critics said that under the proposal, all water projects would be viewed from an "environmentalist standpoint."
The parties decided to further discuss the issue during a special parliamentary panel by the end of September.
Source: Yonhap News Agency