President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol named former Prime Minister Han Duck-soo as the nominee for his first prime minister on April 3.
At a press conference at the transition committee's office in Tongui-dong, Seoul, President-elect Yoon said, "Han served as deputy prime minister for economy and prime minister during the Roh Moo-hyun administration and served as ambassador to the United States during the Lee Myung-bak administration
"Therefore, I think he is the right person to control overall state affairs, including economy and diplomacy and security.”
Han also served as chairman of the Korea International Trade Association from 2012 to 2015.
In those capacities, Han, 72, played a key role in negotiating a free trade agreement with the U.S.
Han is considered a trade specialist with expertise in foreign affairs, making him a suitable candidate to oversee Yoon's twin priorities of rebuilding the economy and bolstering national security.
The former prime minister was born in Jeonju, a liberal stronghold, and served under two liberal Presidents, Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, which could reduce the chances of his nomination being opposed by the liberal Democratic Party.
Han also passed the National Assembly's vetting during the confirmation process for his nomination as prime minister in 2007.
Han earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Seoul National University in 1971 and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1984.
His career spans over 35 years, starting at the National Tax Service in 1970 and the Economic Planning Board four years later. In 1982, he moved to what is now the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, where he rose to Vice Minister in 1997–1998, during the Asian financial crisis; he later became Minister of Trade Affairs (1998–2000), handling trade negotiations with foreign governments.