Ambassadors to US, China, Japan nominated
President Moon Jae-in has nominated the country’s ambassadors to the United States, China and Japan, Cheong Wa Dae announced Wednesday.
Cho Yoon-je, an honorary professor at Sogang University’s Graduate School of International Studies, has been named as ambassador to the U.S.
Noh Young-min, a former three-term lawmaker, and Lee Su-hoon, an international relations professor at Kyungnam University, were tapped as envoys to Beijing and Tokyo, respectively.
Cheong Wa Dae said the government has begun the diplomatic procedure of getting consent from the relevant countries for the nominations.
“It will take a week or a couple of weeks before we receive agreements from the relevant countries,” a presi- dential official said. “The President will officially appoint the three when we receive the agreements.”
The nominations of Cho, Noh and Lee take the President a step closer to appointing envoys to the four stakeholders on the Korean Peninsula — the U.S, China, Japan and Russia.
Moon still has not determined whom to pick for ambassador to Russia, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
“Mr. Cho, with his diplomatic acumen, is qualified for the job,” said presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun, listing his career in international financial organizations, government and academia.
Park said Noh has political expertise, good understanding of political affairs and bargaining power, adding, “he is expected to consoli- date Seoul-Beijing relations to a higher level,” despite deteriorated ties over a U.S. missile shield in South Korea.
Park said Lee was “a foreign affairs and national security expert who is anticipated to contribute to future-oriented relations between Seoul and Tokyo” by settling historical issues and restoring ties.
It is customary for the government to announce ambassador nominees after winning the consent from the countries where they will serve.
But Cheong Wa Dae made the announcement early “because of heated interest from the press,” Park said.
An economist, Cho, 65, built his career in the 1980s and 1990s at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Monetary Fund and the finance ministry.
Noh, 60, served as a legislator three times in the 2000s and 2010s for the Democratic Party of Korea and its precursors. He is also Moon’s close aide and had been touted as the ambassador to China since May.
Lee, 63, spent years as a researcher at Kyugnam University’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies.
Both Cho and Lee helped Moon during and after his election campaign. Cho led Moon’s think tank that later served as the election campaign strategy team.
The think tank was comprised of scholars and mainly dealt with issues on the economy, national security, foreign policy, science and technology.
Lee was in charge of foreign affairs and national security at the State Affairs Planning Advisory Committee, the de facto transition team for the Moon government that began its term without a transition period.
The two ambassador nominees also worked for the government of former President Roh Moo-hyun from 2003 to 2008. Moon was also Roh’s chief of staff.
Cho was a presidential economic advisor and later became the ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Lee chaired a presidential advisory committee aimed at offering ideas to for peace and security in Northeast Asia.
If appointed, Cho will be tasked with working closely with the Donald Trump administration to deal with North Korea’s evolving nuclear and ballistic missile threats.
Noh will be responsible for convincing China to stop bullying South Korea in retaliation for the deployment of a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery here.
Lee will need to settle historical issues, including the agreement initially aimed at settling conflicts over former Korean sex slaves before and during World War II.
From left are Ambassador to the U.S. Cho Yoon-je, Ambassador to Japan Lee Su-hoon and Ambassador to China Noh Young-min.