Long-serving diplomat picked as envoy to U.S.

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Long-serving diplomat picked as envoy to U.S.

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Choi Young-jin

President Lee Myung-bak has picked former Vice Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the United Nations Choi Young-jin as South Korea’s new top envoy to the United States, the foreign ministry said yesterday.

Choi, a career diplomat with four decades of foreign service experience, will replace Han Duck-soo as ambassador to Washington. Han stepped down last week and took office as head of the Korea International Trade Association earlier this week.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Byung-jae said Seoul asked for Washington’s consent to Choi’s nomination, a diplomatic procedure known as “agreement.” The government plans to expedite appointment procedures to fill the post as early as possible, he said.

“It depends on the U.S., but I think the procedures can be completed in three to four weeks,” he said.

Choi is well versed in both bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, and is considered the right person to handle various issues with the United States and move the Seoul-Washington alliance forward in a stable manner, the spokesman said.

Choi, 63, entered diplomatic service in 1972, and has since served in various key posts, including ambassador to the U.N. and Austria, as well as vice foreign minister. He also worked as special representative of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for Cote d’Ivoire. Yonhap

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