Moon hosts 1st reception for heads of foreign missions

19-Oct-2019 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

President Moon Jae-in invited heads of foreign diplomatic missions in Seoul to Cheong Wa Dae, Friday ? the first such event since Moon took office in May 2017.

Among 113 ambassadors, 111 attended the reception at the presidential garden Nokjiwon. Envoys from the Marshall Islands and Venezuela sent apologies, according to presidential officials.

Seventeen representatives of international organisations also attended the reception that started at 3 p.m. and lasted for about two hours.

The President called for the diplomatic corps’ support for the peace process on the Korean Peninsula. He also sought to bring their attention to a special summit between the 10-member Asean and South Korea in Busan from November 25 to 26.

The reception took place amid concerns over a rift in the Seoul-Washington alliance, prompted by South Korea’s decision to end its intelligence-sharing pact with Tokyo in a prolonged diplomatic row.

The pact constitutes a three-way alliance with the US against a rising China and North Korea’s persistent military threats.

Moon met ambassadors from the four peninsula stakeholders ? Harry Harris of the US, Qiu Guohong of China, Andrey Kulik of Russia and Yasumasa Nagamine of Japan.

Whether Nagamine would join drew attention because he completed his three-year stint in August and will be replaced by Koji Tomita, the former head of the Japanese foreign ministry’s North American Affairs Bureau.

Omani Ambassador Mohamed Al-Harthy, serving as dean of the diplomatic corps, proposed a toast. There also were cultural performances as guests mingled with Seoul officials.

Among the officials were Cabinet members including Foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha, Culture, Sports and Tourism minister Park Yang-woo, Health and Welfare minister Park Neung-hoo, Land, Infrastructure and Transport minister Kim Hyun-mee, Gender Equality and Family minister Lee Jung-ok and Oceans and Fisheries minister Moon Seong-hyeok.

National Assembly representatives included deputy Speaker Lee Ju-young and Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee member Yoon Sang-hyun.

Among former presidents, Park Geun-hye (2013-17) hosted a reception for heads of foreign diplomatic missions once, while Lee Myung-bak (2008-2013) and Roh Moo-hyun (2003-2008) did so three times.

Foreign minister Kang has met the ambassadors regularly.

The latest meeting was in June when they visited a new hiking trail in the eastern border town of Goseong, along the Demilitarised Zone.

The trekking was part of the foreign ministry-initiated “Experience Korea” programme for the diplomatic corps in Seoul. Ambassadors and representatives from 52 countries took part.


Category: Korea

Print This Post