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(2nd LD) S. Korean ambassador to Japan offers to resign

All News 16:57 April 06, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with Park's response in 5th para)

TOKYO, April 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top envoy to Japan said Wednesday he has offered to resign upon completing his duty of mending frayed bilateral ties.

Ambassador Yoo Heung-soo told Yonhap News Agency by phone that he wanted to step down this year after the two countries agreed in December to settle their decades-long dispute over Japan's wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women.

The ambassador said he postponed his resignation offer to handle the aftermath of North Korea's nuclear test in January but recently tendered his resignation to President Park Geun-hye.

Yoo added, however, that the row over the "comfort women" has yet to be fully resolved.

Park will accept the resignation once she chooses a successor, sources said, adding that Yoo expressed his will to step down when he met with relevant officials during a business trip to Seoul last month.

Yoo, the then-chief director of the Korea-Japan Friendship Association, was tapped by Park in 2014 for his close ties with the Japanese government and public.

The ambassador spent his childhood in Kyoto, Japan, and served as a leader of an association of South Korean and Japanese lawmakers from 2000-2004.

He also served as chief of the national police agency, governor of South Chungcheong Province and four terms as a lawmaker of predecessors of the current ruling Saenuri Party.


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