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South Korea to hold meeting of diplomatic missions next week

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Seoul, April 18 (IANS) South Korea will open an annual meeting of its top envoys abroad next week with a focus on strengthening its diplomacy amid geopolitical challenges, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.A total of 182 ambassadors, consuls general and other heads of diplomatic missions in foreign countries will join the five-day gathering, set for April 22-26, Yonhap news agency reported.The upcoming meeting will address the ministry’s three main tasks for this year: strong security diplomacy, diplomacy based on economics and livelihoods and multilateral diplomacy as a global pivotal state.The heads of the mission will discuss ways to realise the diplomatic initiatives amid a period of geopolitical transition, including intensifying strategic rivalry between the United States and China, growing North Korean nuclear threats and the prolonged wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, the ministry’s spokesperson, Lim Soo-suk, told a regular press briefing.They will also discuss efforts to make each overseas diplomatic mission a center for exports and winning contracts for projects, and to discover ways to support the youth, Lim added.Chung Jae-ho, South Korean ambassador to China who is currently being investigated over an alleged power abuse against a staff member, will attend the meeting, according to a foreign ministry official.Chung is accused of verbally harassing and treating the embassy official in an arrogant and authoritarian manner, a practice called “gapjil” in Korean.No one will be attending as envoy to Australia on behalf of Lee Jong-sup, the ministry official added.Lee, a former defense minister, resigned as ambassador to Australia late last month amid mounting criticism over his appointment over allegations that he exerted influence on a military investigation into last year’s death of a young Marine.–IANSint/svn

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