Lee Kyu Hyung
South Korea’s embattled Lee Myung Bak administration has named former ambassador to Russia Lee Kyu-hyung new ambassador to China, the third in as many years.
Lee, a career diplomat, immediately replaces outgoing ambassador Yu Woon-Ik, a political appointee who was the second ambassador to China named by Lee Myung Bak. Yu’s own predecessor was Shin Jung-seung.
It will be interesting to see how long Lee Kyu Hyung lasts in his new position as Chinese authorities haven’t taken much of a liking to any of his recent predecessors. The Chosun Ilbo explains why:
Shin Jung-seung (2008-2009) was slighted by Chinese government officials on grounds that he was a lower-level diplomat than his immediate predecessor Kim Ha-joong (2001-2008), who served in the post during the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations. Yu (2009-2011) was according to observers not very enthusiastic about his post.
Another reason why China is feeling under-appreciated:
No Korean ambassadors to China spoke passable Chinese since many were appointed due to their political connections.
Korea’s trade with China is now larger than its trade with United States and Japan put together.