Seoul to add consular affairs division for overseas Koreans

By Kim Yon-se
  • Published : Aug 17, 2014 - 21:17
  • Updated : Aug 17, 2014 - 21:17
The Foreign Ministry will create one more consular affairs division to better protect South Koreans living overseas, a ministry official said Sunday.

The new division will complement the current single consular affairs division at the Foreign Ministry, the official said. The launch of the new division will be included in the home affairs ministry’s government reorganization plan to be announced in the near future, he said.

The Overseas Koreans and Consular Affairs Bureau is currently in charge of consular services for South Korean citizens residing overseas. But the increasing number of international incidents and risky situations, coupled with more Koreans going overseas, has raised demand for more prompt and intensive actions by the government.

The new division, after being established, will be staffed with around five ministry employees and mainly deal with initial measures needed to protect South Korean citizens from emergency situations, according to the ministry official.

This may help the existing consular affairs bureau pay more attention to consular issues at hand, the official said.

“The doubling of the consular affairs bureau may help (the ministry) better respond even when a number of problems break out simultaneously,” another ministry official said.

The plan comes as South Korea is dealing with exposure to international terrorist attacks, civil wars and a global disease epidemic affecting its citizens overseas, as well as the increasing number of North Koreans defecting to the South. (Yonhap)