South Korea's unification minister, in charge of relations with North Korea, offered to resign to take responsibility for the North's nuclear test, the presidential office said Wednesday.
Lee Jong-seok expressed his intention to resign to President Roh Moo-hyun on Tuesday, an official at Roh's office said. The official did not say whether Roh would accept the resignation.
"Faced with North Korea's nuclear test, I apologize to the people and to the president," Lee was quoted as telling reporters Wednesday.
"I don't think I made a big mistake in carrying out North Korean policy," said Lee, a strong supporter of engagement with North Korea whose critics accuse him of being pro-Pyongyang. "I also have a firm faith in what the engagement policy has achieved. But on the occasion of the North's nuclear test, I thought that a more capable person should take this job."
It was not clear if the president would accept Yoon's resignation. Roh also has to find a new foreign minister, as Ban Ki-moon has been elected the new UN secretary-general.