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Han Duck-soo touted as possible pick for prime minister as talented trade, diplomacy expert

Former Prime Minister Han Duck-soo (The Korea Herald)
Former Prime Minister Han Duck-soo (The Korea Herald)
Former Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, armed with years of experience in trade and public affairs, is touted as a strong pick for prime minister of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s coalition government.

The 72-year-old trade expert had served as a prime minister during the Roh Moo-hyun administration from April 2007 to February 2008, being praised by many as a highly skilled talent in terms of administration from his 44-year-long career in the public sector.

Born in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, Han graduated from the prestigious Seoul National University in 1971 with a degree in economics, and went on to earn his masters and doctorate in economics at Harvard University.

He entered the public sector by passing the state-run public officer qualification exam in 1970, and spent the early years of his career in the Korea Customs Service working with a number of key government agencies including the presidential office based on his expertise in economy and trade.

Han served as the 11th commissioner of the Korean Intellectual Property Office from December 1996 to March 1997 and later on was named as the vice industry minister for a year until March 1998.

He represented South Korea for a year as an ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development until December 2001, and also served as an ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2012 during the Lee Myung-bak administration after stepping down from the prime minister position.

After completing his term as an ambassador, he served as the head of the Korea International Trade Association and as chairman of the Climate Change Center.

Until being touted as a likely pick for the Yoon administration’s first prime minister, Han has been serving in teaching positions at Hongik University and Dankook University. He is favored by many for his extensive career in economics as well as broad expertise on diplomacy.

Han is also favored for having served in key positions for two different administrations. He easily passed his prime minister nomination hearing in 2007 for the Roh administration.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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