Ambassadors chosen for China, Japan and UN

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Ambassadors chosen for China, Japan and UN

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Kim Sook / Shin Kak-soo / Lee Kyu-hyung


President Lee Myung-bak yesterday appointed veteran diplomats, including a former vice foreign minister, as Korea’s new ambassadors to China, Japan and the United Nations.

Lee Kyu-hyung, former ambassador to Russia, was selected as Korea’s new ambassador to China, and Shin Kak-soo, former vice foreign minister, was designated as the new envoy to Japan.

“We have requested agreement from China and Japan and are awaiting their approvals,” said Hong Sang-pyo, Blue House public affairs senior secretary. “After the approvals, the two will be formally appointed through endorsements by the cabinet.”

Kim Sook, former first deputy director of the National Intelligence Service, was named as the ambassador to the United Nations. “Kim will be appointed immediately,” Hong said.

According to Hong, the replacements were made because the three current ambassadors have served in their posts for a considerable time period. “It’s just a natural change,” he said. Lee, 59, is a veteran diplomat with 35 years of experience under his belt. He passed the foreign service exam in 1974. He served in various key posts at the Foreign Ministry including the spokesman position from 2004 to 2005. His last post was ambassador to Russia, which he served from March 2007 to January 2010.

Lee’s tie with China, built while he was working as diplomatic minister to the country, will contribute greatly to improving Korea’s strategic partnership with the Asian neighbor, Hong said. Lee served in the post in 1999.

Shin, 56, is known for his experience in Asia affairs and multilateral diplomacy. “We believe he will effectively handle pending issues with Japan with a future-oriented view,” Hong said. Shin joined the Foreign Ministry after passing the foreign service exam in 1975. From November 2009 till February 2011, he served as the first vice minister of the ministry.

When Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan resigned from the post last September, due to an embarrassing scandal over his daughter’s special employment treatment at the ministry, Shin also offered to step down. President Lee, however, kept Shin because he believed it would be undesirable for the ministry’s head and deputy head to be replaced right before the G-20 Summit. “Shin recently expressed his intention to step down, but he will remain until ambassadors are reshuffled early next year,” Blue House spokeswoman Kim Hee-jug said.

Shin performed the duty as the acting foreign minister for one month until the inauguration of the current foreign minister, Kim Sung-hwan. Shin resigned from the first vice minister post in February.

Kim Sook, 58, is a veteran diplomat who has held key posts at the Foreign Ministry since he passed the foreign service exam in 1978. He served as head of the North American bureau from 2004 to 2006 and chief negotiator for the six-party talks from 2008 to 2009 until he was appointed to the vice minister-level post at the National Intelligence Service to become the first deputy director of the spy agency. “We believe Kim will be able to engage in sophisticated diplomacy at the UN to meet Korea’s improved status,” said Hong.

It was not immediately available what posts the new ambassadors’ predecessors will take. Yu Woo-ik, former presidential chief of staff for the Lee Blue House, was the ambassador to China and Kwon Chul-kyeon, a former Grand National lawmaker, was the ambassador to Japan. Speculation ran high that Yu will return to a key post in the Lee administration while Kwon will prepare to return to politics, as the general election takes place next month.


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [아이뉴스24]

靑, 주중대사 이규형·주일대사 신각수·UN대사 김숙 내정

이명박 대통령은 21일 주(駐)중국대사에 이규형 전 주러시아대사, 주일본대사에 신각수 전 외교통상부 1차관, 주유엔대표부 대사에 김 숙 전 국가정보원 1차장을 내정했다.

홍상표 청와대 홍보수석은 브리핑을 통해 "김 숙 주유엔대표부 대사 내정자는 바로 임명되고 나머지 내정자는 중국, 일본으로부터 아그레망이 접수되면 국무회의 심의 등 관련 절차를 거쳐 해당 대사로 임명된다"고 밝혔다.

홍 수석은 이어 "이규형 주중국대사 내정자는 주방글라데시 대사, 외교부 2차관, 주러시아 대사 등으로 30여년간 일해온 직업 외교관이며 주중 공사 시절에 맺은 인적 네트워크를 통해 중국과의 전략적 동반자 관계를 확대하는데 기여할 것이다"고 설명했다.

신각수 주일본대사 내정자에 대해서는 "아시아 관련 업무와 다자 외교에 경험이 풍부한 직업 외교관이며 한일간 여러 현안을 효과적으로 처리하면서 양국관계를 미래지향적으로 발전시킬 적임자이다"고 평가했다.

김 숙 내정자 경우는 대표적인 북미통 외교관으로 한반도 평화교섭본부장, 국정원 1차장으로 근무하면서 국가안보와 평화정책에 깊이 관여했으며, 우리나라의 높아진 국격에 걸맞게 선진화되고 세련된 국제외교를 펼쳐갈 적임자라는 것이 내정 이유로 설명됐다.

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