Top diplomats to come from publicTop diplomats working with Korea’s major international partners will now be recruited from nongovernment sectors, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The ministry said yesterday that it will recruit ministers of economic affairs dealing with the “Big Four” - the United States, China, Japan and Russia - in an open competition, and won’t just pick from in-house candidates. Normally, the minister of economic affairs is the No. 2 spot at Korean embassies, next in rank to the ambassador.
The new foreign minister, Kim Sung-hwan, said earlier that he will open to the public 20 percent of all high-ranking overseas diplomatic positions as part of personnel management reform at the ministry.
The ministry official said deputy permanent representatives (who hold the same rank as ministers of economic affairs) posted in Geneva, Austria and at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will be chosen in an open competition.
This will also be the case for the minister of economic affairs to the European Union.
Another ministry official said the plan has yet to be finalized, adding that the ministry is in the process of selecting which diplomatic posts to include in the open-bid recruitment plan.
But the official said: “We plan to open to the public the positions of minister of economic affairs, or deputy ambassador, at major diplomatic posts so that talented people from other government agencies, the business sector or the private sector can apply.”
The official said the No. 2 positions at embassies in some other places, such as Hong Kong and Kazakhstan, are also under consideration for inclusion in open recruitment.
Kim took office with the pledge of reforming the personnel recruitment process at the ministry after a nepotism scandal involving his predecessor Yu Myung-hwan spurred criticism that the ministry lacked transparency and efficiency in personnel management.
By Moon Gwang-lip [firstname.lastname@example.org]