Am­bas­sadors to US, China, Ja­pan nom­i­nated

The Korea Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Yi Whan-woo yis­

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.

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