President Lee Myung-bak named South Korea’s ambassador to Vietnam, Park Suk-hwan, the new first vice foreign minister Tuesday in a reshuffle that also replaced four other vice-ministerial posts and three presidential secretaries, a presidential spokesperson said.
Park, 56, a career diplomat, entered foreign service in 1979 and has since worked mostly for Asian affairs. His previous overseas posts were mostly in Japan and China. Park also served as chief of protocol before becoming ambassador to Vietnam last year.
Park will replace Shin Kak-soo, who offered to resign last year amid a hiring scandal.
In other replacements of vice-ministerial jobs, Seoul National University professor Lee Don-koo was named as head of the Korea Forest Service, former weather journalist Cho Seok-joon to lead the Korea Meteorological Administration, former National Museum of Korea chief Choe Kwang-shik as head of the Cultural Heritage Administration and Seoul National University professor Kim Young-na to head the National Museum.
President Lee also replaced three presidential aides, including moving land and maritime affairs secretary Shin Jong-ho as secretary for regional development, presidential spokeswoman Kim Hee-jung said.
Kim said the vice foreign minister was replaced as it had been a while since First Vice Foreign Minister Shin offered to resign and the country’s line-up of senior foreign affairs and security officials has been stabilized.
She also said the replacements of the three other posts were a routine reshuffle.
Kim also said there would be an additional smaller-scale reshuffle of presidential aides later this month.