South Korean Foreign Ministry Appoints Female Diplomat Park Ji Ah

Michael Song, March 25, 2016, 7:51 a.m.

The Foreign Ministry has appointed a female diplomat to a deputy minister-level post for the first time, officials said Friday, in a reflection of the growing influence of women within the country's diplomatic service. The ministry has named Paik Ji-ah, the ambassador for international security affairs, as its deputy minister for planning and coordination, a crucial position handling the ministry's budget allocation and execution, and personnel management.

Shin Maeng-ho, Seoul's top envoy to Bulgaria, will replace Paik. Since entering diplomatic service in 1985, Paik has served in various domestic and overseas positions including in the United Nations, Thailand, Geneva and Malaysia. She is known for her expertise in multilateral diplomacy. Speaking to Yonhap News Agency, Paik expressed hopes that she would become a "guide" for her junior diplomats.

"Along with my colleagues, I will explore ways to tackle the issues facing our era such as keeping a balance between work and family, from a diplomatic perspective," she said. In recent years, the influence of female diplomats in Korea has grown with the number of female recruits accounting for more than 60 percent of the total. But it is the first time that a female has risen to the deputy ministerial position.

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