(profile) FM Park nominee known for deep foreign affairs expertise

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SEOUL, April 13 (Yonhap) — Foreign Minister candidate Park Jin, a four-term MP, is known for his vast foreign affairs expertise, the fruit of his versatile career straddling politics , academia and the public service.

Representative Park of the conservative People Power Party previously chaired the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee and also worked as a political science professor, diplomat and presidential press secretary.

Park, now 66, entered politics as President Kim Young-sam’s press secretary in 1993. He first won a parliamentary seat in a 2002 by-election and performed two further successive terms.

After an eight-year hiatus from politics, he was re-elected for a fourth term in 2020 and later joined President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s campaign to play a key role in shaping the new government’s foreign policy.

Park chaired the National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee from 2008 to 2010. During that time, he met one-on-one with Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Biden in Congress at Washington.

Prior to his political life, Park, a graduate of Seoul National University’s Department of Law, served as a diplomat after passing the Foreign Service Examination in 1977. It was then that he cultivated skills practical diplomacy.

Despite his vast experience in diplomacy, Park said he felt a “much heavier” sense of responsibility as South Korea faces a host of foreign policy challenges, such as a Sino-Chinese rivalry. escalating American ties and chilling ties to Japan, to name a few.

He underscored his willingness to pursue diplomacy that “best serves national interests” and address challenges in security, economy and other areas.

“I feel a much heavier sense of responsibility at this grave moment which underscores the importance of diplomacy more than at any other time,” he said in a statement released by the Foreign Office.

He added, “Many tasks await the Yoon Suk-yeol administration, including North Korea’s provocations, the US-China conflict, the Ukraine crisis, global supply chains, economic security, COVID- 19 and climate change”.

The appointment came just days after Park returned from a week-long trip to Washington as head of Yoon’s delegation to coordinate foreign and security policy with U.S. officials and congressional leaders.

The candidate earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard Kennedy School in 1985 and a doctorate in politics from Oxford University in 1993.

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