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Ex-diplomat named KEI vice president

Mark Tokola
Mark Tokola
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) ― A former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul has been appointed vice president of the Washington-based think tank Korea Economic Institute of America, the institute announced Wednesday.

Mark Tokola retired as a career diplomat after 38 years of experience in the U.S. Department of State, where he served as the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassies in South Korea, Mongolia and Iceland. Most recently, he served as the minister-counselor for political affairs at the U.S. Embassy in London.

“I am excited to join KEI, a premier think tank/public policy institute focused on U.S.-ROK (South Korea) relations,” Tokola said in a statement. “As a person who has always had a strong belief in the importance of working with key U.S. allies, it is only natural to work with the Republic of Korea.”

In a meeting with reporters later in the day, Tokola also said he sincerely believes that “the 21st century is going to be how well the United States, Korea and allies work together to solve global problems.”

He added, “None of us can do on our own. We’re facing the same sorts of issues.”

He stressed that Korea has many roles to play on the global stage as one of seven countries with a population of more than 50 million and are prosperous with a per-capita gross domestic product of more than $20,000.