Ambassador from South Korea: Who Is Choi Young-jin?

Sunday, May 27, 2012
The key U.S. Asian ally of South Korea has named a new ambassador to the United States who has served before in the U.S. Born March 29, 1948, Choi Young-jin earned a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, in March 1973, and later earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in International Political Science at the University of Paris I, in 1980 and 1985, respectively. Before earning his undergraduate degree, Choi studied medicine at the Severance Medical College in South Korea for four years.
Choi joined the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in August 1972, having passed the diplomatic service exam the previous May. Early career postings included service as second secretary at the South Korean Embassy in Dakar, Senegal, starting in November 1976; as second secretary at the embassy in Paris, France, starting in August 1978; as director of the Ministry’s Cultural Affairs Division, starting in August 1981; and as counselor at the South Korean embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, starting in February 1983. In April 1986, Choi was named director of the Ministry’s International Organizations Division, where he dealt mainly with non-governmental organizations until January 1987, when he was made aide to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Choi’s first posting to the U.S. came in December 1987, when he was named counselor at the embassy in Washington, DC, an appointment he kept for four years. Choi then served a series of Seoul-based jobs, including senior coordinator for Policy Development at the Ministry’s Office of Policy Planning, starting in May 1991; director-general of the Ministry’s International Economic Affairs Bureau, starting in December 1993; and starting in May 1995, deputy executive director of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, which was founded in March 1995 by the United States, South Korea, and Japan to implement the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Agreement that froze North Korea’s indigenous nuclear power program. His duties included overseeing a $5 billion project to construct two light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea.
In May 1998, Choi went to work for the United Nations as assistant secretary-general for Planning and Support in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, responsible for overseeing planning and support for 17 peacekeeping operations, including those in Kosovo, Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone and Congo.
He returned to South Korean government service in February 2000 as deputy minister for Policy Planning and International Organizations. Two years later, in February 2002, Choi was named ambassador to Austria and to Slovenia, and Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna, a posting he had only until April 2003, when he became chancellor of the Ministry’s Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security.
In January 2004, Choi was appointed vice minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, followed in May 2005 with an appointment as South Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, a position he filled until 2007, when he took an appointment as a resident diplomat scholar at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
In October 2007, U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, also of South Korea, appointed Choi Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire, mandated to certify the Ivorian presidential election of fall 2010 and defuse the political crisis which arose in its aftermath.
Choi has written numerous articles and books, including L’Asie de l’Est et le Rapprochement Sino-Américain (East Asia and the China-U.S. rapprochement) (1987) and East and West: Understanding the Rise of China (2010). Choi is married and has two sons.
-Matt Bewig

Truth is the Starting Point: An Interview with Choi Young-jin (by Michael Fleshman, Africa Renewal) 


Denise Baudin 8 years ago
I also BOYCOTT anything that comes from S. Korea. You & your people should read the petition that is going around the internet. "According to the Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA)'s comprehensive study on S. Korean dog meat industry, "Using electric rods did not instantly kill the dog. First contact to electric rod did paralyze the dog but dogs were still conscious. In most cases, two to three contacts with electric rod will finally make the dog motionless. Duration of electrocution differed by slaughter houses. First contact is within two seconds, and follow-on contact required longer contacts. At some slaughterhouses with poor electricity system, the dog did not lose consciousness after using electric shock. Rather it tried to bite off the electric rod. It is one cruel episode that proved electrocution does not instantly kill the animal. According to our research, electric shock is followed by plucking, where whole process took two to five minutes. Dogs can hardly be dead in such a short period of time. In such cases, dogs are paralyzed but still conscious to suffer from the pain of plucking and die." STOP PUSHING PAPERS IN COMFORTABLE OFFICES AND TAKE CARE OF WHAT IS URGENT AND NEEDS TO BE TAKEN CARE OF ON IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY. UNTIL DOG AND CAT ELECTROCUTING, TORTURING, BOILING ANIMALS ALIVE, EATING THEM FOR LUNCH ARE OVER, TOURISM WILL GO DOWN IN SOUTH KOREA AND THE BUYING OF S.KOREAN GOODS TOO.
Sowhey 10 years ago
Helena- To purchase any merchandise or to travel to any country is a personal choice.To make it sound as if it is such a big deal is rather dramatic and sophomoric. But your wishing that cruelty against all animals to be stopped is commendable. Sowhey
Helena 11 years ago
I am boycotting all the S. Korean products and travel and will continue to do so till your country stops torturing and murdering dogs cats and other creatures! Tradition or no tradition it is time you evolved. Tradition or no tradition if mankind hadn't evolved we would all be still living in caves.. There are NO excuses for the sadistic practices against animals in your country !!

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