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S. Korea appoints Japan expert as 1st vice minister

The South Korean government has appointed Cho Sei-young, a former diplomat and Japanese expert, as first vice foreign minister in an apparent bid to improve ties with Japan.


South Korea’s presidential office announced on Thursday the appointment.


Cho joined the foreign ministry in 1984 and served as a Japanese interpreter for two former presidents, Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung.


He worked at the South Korean embassy in Japan for a total of about 10 years. He led the Northeast Asia bureau of the South Korean foreign ministry.


Currently Cho heads the Korean National Diplomatic Academy which is affiliated with the ministry.


Speaking to reporters on Thursday, a spokesperson of the presidential office said that Cho is well-versed in Northeast Asia, especially Japan, and pointed out Cho’s expertise and experience in Japan.


South Korean media say that Cho is known for his extensive knowledge about Japan.


The media also say that his appointment symbolizes the South Korean government’s willingness to improve souring bilateral ties, and the move will send a positive message to Japan.

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