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China taps Zhang Xinsen as ambassador to Seoul: source

All Headlines 09:51 March 06, 2010

SEOUL, March 6 (Yonhap) -- Zhang Xinsen, director of general office of the Chinese foreign ministry, is likely to be named the new Chinese ambassador to South Korea, a diplomatic source in Seoul said Saturday.

Once appointed, Zhang will replace Cheng Yonghua, who assumed his new position as China's ambassador to Japan last month.

The Chinese government requested Seoul's agreement for Zhang to serve as its top diplomat in South Korea Friday, the source said, requesting not to be named due to the prematurity of the announcement.

"He will be officially appointed soon as the (South Korean) government is positively considering the request," he said.

Zhang, born 1953 in Shanghai, previously served as the Chinese ambassador to Ireland 2005-2007. Journalist-turned-politician Zhang is a fluent speaker of English, but does not speak Korean, according to Seoul officials.

China, once a communist ally of North Korea, is a member of the six-nation talks aimed at denuclearizing Pyongyang and maintains close economic and diplomatic ties with Seoul and Pyongyang.

hayney@yna.co.kr
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