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Ex-vice foreign minister tapped for envoy to U.S.

Choi Young-jin
Choi Young-jin
The South Korean government said that it has tapped Choi Young-jin, former vice foreign minister, as new ambassador to the United States, a government official said Thursday.

Choi will be replacing the outgoing ambassador Han Duck-soo, who made a surprise offer to step down during his visit to Seoul last week and elected Wednesday as the new chief of the Korea International Trade Association.

The government has asked the U.S. for an agreement on the appointment of Choi Thursday, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Cho Byung-jae.

“To minimize the void of the job, we will speed up the appointment procedure as rapidly as possible,” he said.

“The government believes Choi is the best person to handle various bilateral issues of Korea and the U.S. and stably maintain and develop the alliance of the two countries.”

Normally it takes about one or two months to receive an agreement from a foreign country but it could be three or four weeks depending on situations in the U.S., Cho said.

The 63-year-old career diplomat has served the foreign ministry in a variety of posts including vice foreign minister, permanent representative of Korea to the U.N., ambassador to Austria, chief of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security and deputy minister for foreign policy planning at the foreign ministry, Cho said.

After being appointed to Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Cte d’Ivoire in 2007, Choi’s diplomatic capacity has been recognized by the international community for years of his efforts to end civil wars in the country, he said.

By Kim Yoon-mi (yoonmi@heraldcorp.com)
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