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(LEAD) Moon holds high-level meeting on backing Yoo Myung-hee's WTO chief bid

All News 16:20 October 12, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with Cheong Wa Dae's statement, Yoo's Europe visit plan in last 4 paras; ADDS photo, byline)
By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in convened a high-level meeting Monday to discuss strategies on supporting Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee's bid to become the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Cheong Wa Dae said.

Moon raised the need to publicize that the minister with 25 years of experience in trade affairs is the right figure to reform the WTO, speaking in the session joined by Yoo, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.

The president pledged to make every effort himself to help Yoo win the competition especially through personal letters to his foreign counterparts and phone talks.

This combined image provided by Yonhap News TV shows Yoo Myung-hee (L) of South Korea and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, the two final candidates for the director general of the World Trade Organization. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The Cheong Wa Dae meeting came ahead of the opening of the two-way final round of the WTO chief race next week, which also involves Nigeria's former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Yoo reported to the president that she would concentrate on endeavoring to draw a broader range of support from the international community, not from specific nations or continents, Kang said.

The spokesman pointed out that avoiding vetoes is as important as gaining more votes.

President Moon Jae-in (2nd from L) holds a meeting with top government officials on supporting Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee's bid for the top post of the World Trade Organization at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Oct. 12, 2020, in this photo provided by Moon's office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Also attending the meeting, Kim Hyun-chong, deputy chief of Cheong Wa Dae's national security office, said it is necessary to emphasize that Yoo is the candidate capable of restoring multilateral trade. Kim served as Seoul's trade minister and ambassador to the United Nations.

The spokesman stated, meanwhile, that the government will mobilize all available capabilities to provide "systemic support," based on the division of roles by relevant authorities, for her campaign.

Other attendees included Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo, Koo Yun-cheol, minister for government policy coordination, Noh Young-min, presidential chief of staff, and Suh Hoon, director of national security at Cheong Wa Dae.

Yoo plans to leave for Europe on Tuesday for a home-stretch campaign drive, according to her ministry. She is scheduled to visit Geneva, where the headquarters of the WTO is located, and other European cities, for meetings with senior officials and envoys and discussions on ways to reform the global body with 164 member states.

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