SEOUL, Political parties gave a mixed assessment of President Moon Jae-in's Cabinet reshuffle Friday, with the ruling party hailing it as a move to better support the president's activities in his third year as president.

But the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party denounced the replacement of four lawmakers-turned-ministers as an attempt to focus on preparations for next year's parliamentary elections.

Earlier in the day, Moon named several new ministers, including the country's top point man on North Korea, in a reshuffle that will set up his administration for the second half of his five-year term.

Kim Yeon-chul, head of the state-run think tank on unification, was tapped as the new unification minister. Two ruling party lawmakers, Park Young-sun and Chin Young, were named to lead the ministry on SMEs and venture firms and the interior ministry, respectively.

The ruling DP welcomed the shake-up, assessing that the nominees are well fit for the posts when there is a need to back up Moon's economic policy seamlessly and seek social integration.

"We hope that the Moon government, in its third year, will gain momentum with the reshuffle, backed by the nominees' experience, creativity and expertise," the DP said.

But the LKP denounced Moon for appointing his confidant as unification minister, claiming that his appointment is aimed at expanding cross-border economic cooperation under the U.S. sanctions regime.

It also blast Moon for not replacing ministers in charge of diplomacy and security who the LKP claimed are responsible for rifts in the alliance with the United States.

The minor conservative Bareunmirae Party said the appointment of the two lawmakers indicates that Moon has no intention to seek reform since he filled the posts with nominees lacking expertise.

Source: Yonhap news Agency