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Park formally appoints new ambassador to Japan

All Headlines 13:53 July 01, 2016

SEOUL, July 1 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye on Friday conferred a letter of credence to Lee Joon-gyu, a veteran diplomat, for his official appointment as South Korea's ambassador to Japan, her office Cheong Wa Dae said.

Lee, who served as Seoul's top envoy to India between 2012-2015, is expected to take office as early as next week. He has recently garnered formal approval -- known as "agrement" -- for his appointment from the Tokyo government, according to a source.

In May, Lee was tapped to replace Yoo Heung-soo, a former four-term lawmaker who offered to resign in April.

Lee entered diplomatic service in 1978 after graduating from the department of law, Seoul National University. He has served in various domestic and overseas posts, including those in the United Nations, Malaysia, Japan, China and New Zealand.

The most crucial task facing Lee is to make progress in implementing last year's landmark agreement between Seoul and Tokyo to settle the issue of the latter's wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women, observers said.

Under the deal reached on Dec. 28, Tokyo expressed a formal apology and contrition for its colonial-era atrocities and agreed to provide 1 billion yen (US$8.9 million) for a foundation to be established by Seoul to support the victims, euphemistically called "comfort women."

The bilateral efforts to enforce the deal have yet to make substantial progress as some of the victims and their supporters have opposed the deal, claiming that it was struck without sufficient prior consultations with them.

Meanwhile, Park received credentials from new East Timorese Ambassador to South Korea Adalgisa Maria Soares Ximenes at Cheong Wa Dae.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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