Madam Kang Kyung-wha, senior policy adviser to to then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been tapped as the new minister of foreign affairs of Korea. If confirmed, Madam Kang will become not only the first female foreign minister in the history of the Republic of Korea but also the first not coming from the Foreign Service Examination circles in Korea.
In tapping Madam Kang, President Moon Jae-in was quoted as saying: “I believe that she would prove to be the best person to positively meet the diplomatic challenges that faces today, making good use of her expertise in the international organization.” Moon said.
Moon then said, “I would say that appointment of her would also contribute to promoting gender equality in the new government.”
Reports indicate that President Moon has been making extensive efforts to invite capable female officials to take key posts in his new government or in his Presidential secretariat as he emphasized gender equality in the Korean government during his Presidential campaigning is quite determined to promote gender equality in the government, not in a perfunctory way but by actually bestowing key roles such as foreign minister on women who are fit for the job,” he said.
According to Cheong Wa Dae, Kang had minor flaws in her family members’ profile, including the fact that her daughter had chosen US citizenship over her Korean nationality and that she once registered a false residence so as to be accepted into a preferred school.
“Kang was appointed despite these problems as she was deemed the best diplomatic chief in current circumstances,” Cho Hyun-ock, senior presidential secretary for personnel affairs, was quoted by the Korean media as saying. “We have decided to reveal all this information as President Moon wished to make the personnel process clear to the public,” Cho said.
Working with Kang from within Cheong Wa Dae are Yonsei University Professor Moon Chung-in and Moon’s special envoy to the United States Hong Seok-hyun, both named as special advisers for unification, foreign affairs and national security. Former diplomat Chung Eui-yong, who played a pivotal role in Hong’s US visit was named as National Security Chief at Cheong Wa Dae.
About Kang Kyung-wha:
Kang Kyung-wha is a South Korean diplomat. She was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator in the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in March 2013. Previous to this position, she served as United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights. She was appointed to this position by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in September 2006.
Kang obtained her M.A. and Ph.D from University of Massachusetts Amherst, United States. In the beginning of her career, she had worked for the Seoul-based Korean Broadcasting System and lectured at universities in South Korea and the United States.
In 1998, she joined the Korea Foreign Service. Prior to that, she worked for the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Korea on global issues in the fields of human rights, women’s advancement and parliamentary diplomacy.
From 2001 to 2005, Kang was Minister at the Republic of Korea Mission to the United Nations. During that time, she served as chairwoman of the Commission on the Status of Women for its 48th and 49th session.
Prior to her appointment to the UN post, Kang was Director-General of International Organization at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea.