S. Korea to up overseas mission heads from outside to 30%

2017.09.12 11:06:21 | 2017.09.12 11:06:57

Kang Kyung-wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs이미지 확대

Kang Kyung-wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs

South Korea aims to hire up to 30 percent of the country`s overseas ambassadors and consulates from outside the foreign ministry in a bid to increase openness and professionalism, the government said Monday.

A record number of ambassadors would be replaced with non-career diplomats in a scheduled reshuffle later this year in line with President Moon Jae-in’s pledge to revamp the organization, which has been criticized for its exclusiveness and parochialism.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said about 70, or 43 percent, of the country`s total 163 foreign missions, will be replaced within the year with a goal to increase the ratio of externally-hired chiefs to 30 percent from the current 10 percent during the presidential term.

The bold reform comes after a string of scandals including sexual misconduct that involved Korean diplomats overseas have prompted the need for a broad overhaul.

“Outside individuals could bring new networks and provide a different set of expertise and a fresh perspective,” the ministry said. “We will evaluate their capabilities in a holistic manner, not by a uniform standard.”

By Park Tae-in

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