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(LEAD) S. Korea appoints more women, non-career diplomats to head overseas missions

All News 15:46 January 02, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in last 2 paras)

SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has named more women and non-career diplomats to lead the country's diplomatic missions overseas, a decision aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of the nation's foreign service, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Cho Shin-hee, a senior official at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries named as South Korea's ambassador to Fiji, was one of five women newly appointed to head South Korean diplomatic missions in a reshuffle, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

With the latest appointment, the number of female diplomatic mission chiefs rose to seven, the ministry said.

(LEAD) S. Korea appoints more women, non-career diplomats to head overseas missions - 1

In the first reshuffle of foreign mission heads under the Moon Jae-in government, the foreign ministry replaced nearly one-third of the chiefs of the country's 163 overseas missions.

Sixteen of the newly appointed mission chiefs were brought from outside the foreign ministry, including new ambassadors to Germany and Hungary, who were both former lawmakers, as the ministry strives to align its foreign service with Moon's diplomacy vision, according to the ministry.

With the 16 new appointees, the number of diplomatic mission chiefs who come from outside the foreign ministry rose to 26, marking 16 percent of all mission heads.

In a reform drive to enhance the foreign service's openness and professionalism, the ministry has pledged to hire up to 30 percent of the country's ambassadors from outside of its pool of career diplomats.

The latest choice of mission chiefs was made based upon their "understanding of the philosophy and policy vision of the new administration and willingness to implement them," as well as their morality and leadership as high-ranking public officials.

The new appointees include Amb. to the Vatican Lee Baek-man, former top presidential secretary for public affairs, and Amb. to Norway Park Keum-ok, the former top secretary to the National Assembly's speaker.

The heads of South Korea's embassies in other countries, including Laos, Libya, Mexico, Myanmar, Sweden, Switzerland, India, Turkey, France and the Philippines, were also replaced.


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