Cho Tae-yong named ambassador to Washington
Rep. Cho, a first-term lawmaker for the People Power Party (PPP), is a career diplomat of nearly three decades and an expert on Korea-U.S. ties and North Korea nuclear issues.
After joining the Foreign Ministry in 1980, he served in various posts including as Seoul's chief negotiator in the defunct six party talks on North Korean denuclearization, a director general of the North American Affairs Bureau and ambassador to Australia and Ireland.
He served as first vice foreign minister from February 2014 to October 2015 and as first deputy director of the Blue House National Security Office (NSO) from October 2015 to May 2017 in the Park Geun-hye administration. He was elected as a proportional representative in 2020 and serves on the parliamentary foreign affairs and unification committee.
During the Park administration, Cho forged close ties with officials in the Barack Obama administration, including his U.S. counterpart in the State Department at that time, Antony Blinken, who is now secretary of state.
He was part of Yoon's policy delegation to Washington last month during the transition period, and his appointment comes days ahead of the arrival of U.S. President Joe Biden in Seoul for a summit with Yoon Saturday.
Cho earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Seoul National University and studied at Oxford University. He also taught at Yonsei University as a visiting professor and at Keio University in Tokyo as a visiting fellow.
He is a son-in-law of Lee Bum-suk, the foreign minister who died in a North Korean assassination attempt against President Chun Doo Hwan in Myanmar in 1983. The so-called Rangoon bombing killed 17 Koreans.
Yoon named Peck Kyong-ran, a professor of medicine at Sungkyunkwan University, as commissioner of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), the administration that has been in charge of overseeing Covid-19 measures.
Peck, an infectious disease expert, served as a member of Yoon's transition team's social, welfare and culture subcommittee and was in charge of drawing up a Covid-19 response for the new administration.
She was recommended by transition team chairman Ahn Cheol-soo, who had headed a special Covid-19 committee.
Peck served as chairperson of the Korean Society of Infectious Diseases from December 2019 to November 2021 and advised the government on its disease control policies during the pandemic.
A graduate of Seoul National University College of Medicine, Peck served as a research associate at Yale University's School of Medicine and a visiting scientist at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She was previously a professor of infectious disease at Samsung Medical Center.
Yoon also named Kim So-young, an economics professor at Seoul National University, vice chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC).
Kim is a macroeconomics and finance expert, advising Yoon on economic policy since his campaign. He is a graduate of Seoul National University and received a doctorate degree in economics from Yale University.
"I am taking office as the vice chairman of the FSC at a critical time when the overall economic and financial situation is difficult due to increased domestic and foreign financial risks," said Kim. "I will do my best with extraordinary determination."
BY SARAH KIM [email@example.com]