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SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea’s new national security adviser will be Chang Ho-jin, a seasoned diplomat with extensive experience in United States and North Korean affairs, President Yoon Suk Yeol’s office said on Thursday, December 28.
Chang, 62, is the latest career diplomat named to a high-profile diplomatic and security position by Yoon, who employed some political appointees in his early days in office.
“I feel a greater sense of responsibility at a time when a global order that has existed for more than three decades is facing a new phase,” Chang told reporters.
His appointment comes as Seoul seeks to navigate an increasingly complex security landscape in northeast Asia and beyond, and prepare for next year’s United States presidential election.
A widely respected strategic thinker and former ambassador to Russia, Chang has years of experience in US and North Korean negotiations and security policy.
He succeeds Cho Tae-yong, who was recently nominated to be the new intelligence chief, from January 1.
Tension with North Korea has flared this year after Pyongyang launched a spy satellite and an intercontinental ballistic missile, as Seoul moved to bolster its alliance with the United States and improve security ties with Japan.
Chang pledged to foster progress on the North Korea nuclear issue and “normalize” ties between the neighbors, while ramping up ties with Washington and Tokyo.
Yoon’s latest reshuffle also brings his policy chief, Lee Kwan-sup, into the role of chief of staff, while Sung Tae-yoon, an economist at Yonsei University, takes the place of Lee.
Kim Hong-kyun, a former nuclear negotiator with North Korean expertise, was picked to be vice foreign minister. – Rappler.com