New foreign minister emphasizes reform and communication

Jun 20, 2017, 09:00 am

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Kang Kyung-wha, South Korea's new foreign minister, heads to the foreign affairs headquarters in Jongno-gu, Seoul, on June 19./ Source: Yonhap News

By AsiaToday reporter Heo Go-woon

"In order to engage in the diplomacy that meets the demand of the times, we should first make efforts to renew ourselves by moving away from familiar ways of thinking and working."

South Korea's new foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha, held an inauguration ceremony on Monday at the Foreign Ministry's headquarters in Doryeom-dong, Seoul. She said, "The diplomacy that is required in this era should communicate with the people and have the will of the people."

"The Foreign Ministry should put the people and the national interests in the first place in order to make a country worth being proud of, a strong, peaceful and confident country that all the people dream of," Kang said. She urged South Korea's diplomatic people should broaden the horizons of work and thinking by building capacity and strength.

"We need to reduce the time it takes to create and approve documents, and we should not consider stand-by overwork and weekend work as our commitment to our work. I will also positively examine the ways in which the organization can support its employees to balance work and family."

Kang emphasized the importance of communication for the diplomacy that shows the people's will, saying, "I'd like to gain valuable wisdom through various contacts with the people, the National Assembly, the related ministries, the media, academia, and civil societies."

In terms of North Korean issues, Kang said, "We must respond firmly to North Korea's provocations, but we must induce the North's denuclearization using both sanctions and dialogue. In terms of human rights in North Korea, I will keep the government stance in favor of the U.N. human rights resolutions against the North that has been unchanged since 2008."

Kang also said, "My priority is the preparation for the Seoul-Washington summit. I'm willing to talk to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the phone and fly to the U.S. prior to the summit."

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