SEOUL: South Korean President Moon Jae-In on Sunday appointed a United Nations veteran as the country’s first female foreign minister, tasked with easing tensions over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, reports AFP.
Kang Kyung-Hwa, 62, served as Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights and Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs before becoming a senior policy advisor to UN chief Antonio Guterres this year.
Her appointment comes less than two weeks before Moon’s first trip to the US for a summit with President Donald Trump as fears grow over Pyongyang’s weapons programme.
The isolated regime has staged a series of missile launches this year, defying global pressure and triggering tightened UN sanctions.
Kang served at the South’s foreign ministry for years before joining the UN.
Her diplomatic experience will help the South navigate tricky waters and tackle sensitive issues with its allies and neighbours, Moon’s office said earlier.
Moon, a centre-left politician who took office after the ouster of impeached president Park Geun-Hye, has advocated dialogue with the North to bring it to the negotiating table in a break from his conservative predecessors who took a hardline stance against Pyongyang.
Ties with the US have also come under strain recently over a controversial deployment of a US anti-missile system in the South that soured relations with China, which sees it as a threat..