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Seoul appoints first female unification ministry spokesperson

Lee Jong-joo, new spokesperson of the Unification Ministry, speaks during a press briefing in this photo taken in 2011, when she served as the ministry's deputy spokesperson.(Yonhap)
Lee Jong-joo, new spokesperson of the Unification Ministry, speaks during a press briefing in this photo taken in 2011, when she served as the ministry's deputy spokesperson.(Yonhap)
 

The Unification Ministry on Sunday tapped Lee Jong-joo, director-general of humanitarian cooperation bureau, as the ministry’s first female spokesperson. 

With the appointment, she became the first woman to hold the position since the ministry, in charge of inter-Korean affairs, was established in 1969. 

The ministry said Lee has been recognized for her competence, having worked in the ministry’s key divisions and various posts across the government. It expects Lee, who also served as the ministry’s first-ever deputy female spokesperson in the past, to communicate effectively with media on various inter-Korean issues. 

“We will make efforts to expand (the number of) women in leadership positions, as the women’s role in the areas of unification is becoming very important,” Unification Minister Lee In-young said in a statement. 

The 49-year-old entered the ministry in 1998 after passing the state civil service examination in 1996. During her tenure, she worked across various divisions of the ministry, including the offices of inter-Korean exchange and cooperation, intelligence and analysis, humanitarian cooperation and inter-Korean dialogue. She also worked as the unification attache at the Korean Embassy in Washington D.C. In 2009, Lee served as the deputy spokesperson for the ministry, becoming the first female to assume the role across all government agencies. 

A graduate of Korea University in Seoul, with a degree in sociology, Lee holds a masters degree in public policy from Seoul National University and Harvard Kennedy School, and a Ph.D. in military and securities studies from the University of North Korean Studies.

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)
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