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Lee names Park Geun-hye as special envoy to Europe

President Lee Myung-bak will send his political archrival Rep. Park Geun-hye as his special envoy to the Netherlands, Portugal and Greece later this month, Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday.

Park, a factional leader of the ruling Grand National Party who had competed against Lee for the party’s presidential ticket in the 2007 elections, is so far the GNP’s strongest contender for the presidential race next year.

Park will visit the three European countries from April 28 through May 6, Lee’s top aide for political affairs Chung Jin-seok said.

“Former chairperson Park will deliver the government’s will and expectations for sustainable development of bilateral ties to the leaders of the Netherlands, Portugal and Greece with which South Korea celebrates the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations, and exchange views on ways to extend bilateral cooperation,” Chung said.

Lee informed Park of his intention to send her as his special envoy last month and Park accepted the offer earlier this month, Chung said.

Park is set to meet with deliver Lee’s letters to Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, President Anibal Cavaco Silva of Portugal and President Karolos Papoulias of Greece, and deliver Lee’s letters to them during her visit.

Park had visited China in January 2008, the European Union, Hungary and Denmark in August 2009 as the president’s special envoy.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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