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SoKor to dispatch special envoys to China, US, Russia, Japan, Europe

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday picked special envoys to be dispatched to China, the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Union.

Senior presidential press secretary Yoon Young-chan made an official announcement of the special envoys in the presidential Blue House.

Moon’s office said in a press release that Moon picked figures who can best understand his diplomatic vision and foreign policy. They are set to leave as soon as schedules are tuned up with counterparts.

Moon won a landslide victory in the May 9 presidential by-election. Since his inauguration soon after the victory, the new leader had a series of phone conversations with his counterparts of the world powers and promised to send special envoys for discussions on current situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Moon decided to send Lee Hae-chan, who served as prime minister under the Roh Moo-hyun government, to China as special envoy on the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Lee is an influential figure in Moon’s ruling Democratic Party as he is a lawmaker and one of co-chiefs who led the party’s presidential campaign.

He was dispatched to China as a special envoy when late President Roh, for whom Moon served as chief of staff, was inaugurated in February 2003.

The Blue House said Lee has a ripe experience on China and maintains close relations with Chinese figures.

A senior presidential official, who declined to be identified, told Xinhua that the special envoy will discuss a broad range of issues, including the THAAD and the DPRK.

As the two issues are inter-connected, the official said, they would be handled together.

Moon’s special envoys to the world powers will deliver his handwritten letters to his counterparts to express his willingness for a cooperative diplomacy, while meeting with a wide range of senior government officials to explain the new government’s policy and vision and exchange in-depth opinions on the development of bilateral relations, the Blue House said.

Meanwhile, President Moon selected Hong Seok-hyun, former chairman of the Joongang Media Network, as a special envoy to the United States.

Hong worked for the Roh administration in 2005 as the country’s ambassador to Washington and has since built a broad range of personal connections in the United States.

Rep. Moon Hee-sang, a lawmaker of the Democratic Party, will be sent to Japan as special envoy. He is a former National Assembly vice speaker and a sitting senior advisor of the ruling party.

He built a broad personal network in Japan when he was the chief of the South Korea-Japan Parliamentarians’ Union from 2004 to 2008.

Rep. Song Young-gil of the Democratic Party will be dispatched to Russia as the lawmaker serves now as vice chief of the South Korea-Russia diplomatic committee comprising lawmakers of the two nations.

Song built connections with Russian figures when he served as a mayor of the country’s west port city of Incheon from 2010 to 2014. In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded him the order of peace and amity.

Cho Yoon-je, a professor at Sogang University in Seoul, was picked as a special envoy to the EU and Germany. He served as an economic aide to former President Roh and was former ambassador to Britain from 2005 to 2008. (Xinhua)