More women, outsiders are named ambassadors

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More women, outsiders are named ambassadors

Korea has named more women and non-career diplomats to lead the country’s diplomatic missions overseas to enhance the competitiveness of the nation’s foreign service, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

Cho Shin-hee, a senior official at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries named as Korea’s ambassador to Fiji, was one of five women newly appointed to head Korean diplomatic missions in a reshuffle, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

With the latest appointment, the number of female diplomatic mission chiefs rose to seven, the ministry said.

In the first reshuffle of foreign mission heads under the Moon Jae-in government, the Foreign Ministry replaced nearly one-third of the chiefs of the country’s 163 overseas missions.

Sixteen of the newly appointed mission chiefs were brought from outside the Foreign Ministry, including new ambassadors to Germany and Hungary, who were both former lawmakers, as the ministry strives to align its foreign service with Moon’s diplomatic vision, according to the ministry.

With the 16 new appointees, the number of diplomatic mission chiefs who come from outside the Foreign Ministry rose to 26, marking 16 percent of all mission heads. The ministry has pledged to hire up to 30 percent of the country’s ambassadors from outside its pool of career diplomats.

The new appointees include Ambassador to the Vatican Lee Baek-man, former top presidential secretary for public affairs, and Ambassador to Norway Park Keum-ok, the former top secretary to the National Assembly’s speaker. The heads of Korea’s embassies in other countries, including Laos, Libya, Mexico, Myanmar, Sweden, Switzerland, India, Turkey, France and the Philippines, were also replaced.

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