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Yoon completes lineup of top ambassadors

(from left) Ambassador to the UN Hwang Joon-kook, Ambassador to Japan Yun Duk-min, Ambassador to China Chung Jae-ho, Ambassador to Russia Chang Ho-jin (Presidential office)
(from left) Ambassador to the UN Hwang Joon-kook, Ambassador to Japan Yun Duk-min, Ambassador to China Chung Jae-ho, Ambassador to Russia Chang Ho-jin (Presidential office)




President Yoon Suk-yeol named ambassadors to the United Nations, Japan, China and Russia on Tuesday.

Yoon appointed Hwang Joon-kook (62), former ambassador to the United Kingdom, as ambassador to the United Nations, and Yun Duk-min (63), former head of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, as ambassador to Japan.

Chung Jae-ho (62), a professor of foreign affairs at Seoul National University, was appointed ambassador to China, while Chang Ho-jin (61), a chair professor at Korea Maritime & Ocean University, was appointed as ambassador to Russia.



Yun Duk-min

Yun Duk-min, former head of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, was appointed as ambassador to Japan.

Yun is a scholar who served as a professor at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security for 20 years. He served as head of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy and was a member of the future diplomacy and security subcommittee of the presidential committee during the Park Geun-hye administration.

When President Yoon was elected, Yun visited Japan as a member of the Korea-Japan policy consultative delegation. Yun also worked on Yoon’s campaign, advising on foreign affairs and security.

He holds a doctorate from Keio University in Japan, majoring in law. He is also a distinguished professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.



Chung Jae-ho

Chung Jae-ho, a professor of foreign affairs at Seoul National University, was appointed as the ambassador to China.

Chung is an expert in China’s political economy who has studied US-China relations, receiving his master’s degrees in Chinese history and Chinese politics from Brown University in Rhode Island. He received his doctorate in political science from the University of Michigan.

After serving as an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan in 1987, he became a professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and a research fellow at the City University of Hong Kong.

He served as the director of the China research center and the director of the institute of international studies at Seoul National University. Chung and Yoon graduated from the same high school.

Chung also joined the Korea-US policy consultation delegation sent to the US by the presidential transition committee in March.



Chang Ho-jin

Chang Ho-jin, a professor at Korea Maritime & Ocean University, was selected as Yoon’s first ambassador to Russia.

He graduated from Seoul National University, majoring in diplomacy. After passing the foreign affairs examination he began his career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, serving as deliberation officer and director of North America. He also served as a foreign affairs secretary to the president during the Lee Myung-bak administration. He was appointed as the ambassador to Cambodia in 2010.

Chang was also included in the Korea-Japan Policy Consultative Group dispatched to Japan by the presidential transition committee in April.



Hwang Joon-kook

Hwang Joon-kook, who is a former ambassador to the United Kingdom, has been appointed ambassador to the United Nations.

Hwang is a North Korea nuclear expert, having served as the head of the North Korean nuclear diplomacy planning group during the Lee Myung-bak administration. He also served as the chief representative of the six-party talks and head of the Korean Peninsula Peace Negotiation Headquarters during the Park Geun-hye administration.

Hwang graduated from Seoul National University, majoring in economics, and passed the foreign affairs exam. He was chief of the supporters association for Yoon when he was a presidential candidate. Hwang is also a visiting professor at Hallym University.



Each ambassador nominee will be officially appointed with the consent of the host country. The appointment of ambassadors to what are traditionally regarded in Korea as the “four major powers” -- the US, China, Japan and Russia -- has now been completed, following former lawmaker Cho Tae-yong, who was nominated as ambassador to the US last month, just one week after Yoon’s inauguration.



By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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