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South Korea's veteran diplomat named as PM
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South Korea's President-elect Lee Myung-bak announced Monday that he has nominated former Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo as prime minister.


The 72-year-old Han, now serving as a special envoy on climate change for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is known for his wide-ranging diplomatic and political career, which includes stints as finance minister, commerce minister, ambassador to the United States and presidential chief of staff. The former three-term lawmaker was also elected president of the UN General Assembly in 2001.


"I asked Han to be my first prime minister in consideration of his global mindset and abundant experiences at home and abroad," Lee said at a news conference, standing beside Han.


"Taking advantage of his international experiences and human networks, Han will be able to help revitalize our economy and successfully carry out national tasks in trade and resource diplomacy. He is also the right person to promote national harmony and cooperation between the administration and the National Assembly," Lee said, naming a number of public posts held by Han.


Prime Minister-designate Han, who earned the title of " international gentleman" after serving long in high-profile diplomatic and government posts, said that he will devote his efforts to the welfare of the nation, as well as to Lee's commitment to resource diplomacy.


"Resources are indispensable to our economy. I'm ready to criss-cross the globe to engage in resource diplomacy. I'll also strive to publicize our nation's human resources abroad," said Han.


"We can overcome the looming global economic crisis through further deregulation and stimulation of private investment," said Lee, who will be sworn in on February 25. He has unveiled a plan to downsize the organizations and personnel of the prime minister's office, saying his prime minister will be primarily responsible for resource diplomacy.


Han must undergo a parliamentary confirmation hearing before taking office as new prime minister.


(Xinhua News Agency January 28, 2008)

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