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South Korean Diplomat to Iraq Im Hong-jae to be Replaced

South Korean Diplomat to Iraq Im Hong-jae to be Replaced

Posted September. 03, 2004 21:57,   


It was reported yesterday that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will replace South Korean Ambassador to Iraq Im Hong-jae with a new successor.

Sources at the Foreign Ministry said, “Mr. Im was officially announced as ambassador to Iraq last November and started his post early this year. He requested an appointment transfer to the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by submitting the reasons of ‘I have been so exhausted, both physically and mentally, after experiencing the tragic accident of Kim Sun-il,’ and as far as I know, the new ambassador to Iraq will be appointed soon.”

Reflecting the strategic importance of the Iraqi region where the Korean troops are dispatched, it is known that the experienced diplomat “Mr. J” is being considered as a potential successor candidate.

On the other hand, the government is reportedly considering moving the South Korean Embassy to the Green Zone, a United States military-guarded special district in downtown Baghdad, as part of measures to enhance the safety of South Korean diplomats.

The Green Zone, a five-kilometer square, is home to the Iraqi presidential house and the Republican Palace, the Iraqi interim government complex, the U.S. and U.K. embassies, and the U.S. military personnel and their families.

In addition, the Foreign Ministry is planning to carry out a new vacation system soon to ease the difficult working conditions of the workforce in the embassy in Iraq, in which workers will be able to take two weeks’ vacation after working for three months or a one month leave after six months of working.

“The Foreign Ministry also introduced a shortened tenure of one year for diplomats and diplomatic ministers for dangerous regions such as Iraq,” said sources at the Foreign Ministry. Following the new tenure system, Son Se-ju, who has been working as a diplomatic minister at the embassy since late August 2003, will allegedly be transferred to the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry late this month. The general tenure for ambassadors and diplomatic ministers ranges from two and a half to three years.

Hyong-gwon Pu bookum90@donga.com