South Korea’s new Minister of Unification was inaugurated on March 16 in Seoul, saying he would employ dialogue and exchange to push for peaceful unification.
Hong Yong-pyo was sworn in on Monday after previously working as one of President Park Geun-hye’s advisors on North Korea in the Blue House.
“Dialogue, exchange and cooperation with North Korea is one of the important tasks for me and the unification ministry,” Hong said in his inauguration speech in comments carried by Yonhap News Agency.
“We will never let go of the string of dialogue, although North Korea is reluctant to hold talks” he continued.
Hong also said he will said that he will work closely with the Presidential Committee for Unification Preparation and will seek more effective communication methods, the MOU declined to further elaborate on the plans.
“As Minister Hong was just inaugurated today, there is no specific explanation in terms of North Korea policy that he mentioned today,” a spokesperson from the Ministry of Unification told NK News.
The new minister already came under fire last week for self-plagiarizing during his career in academia.
At a confirmation hearing before the Hong’s appointment, opposition lawmakers said that he copied his own work several times when writing a new thesis.
“In practice, it was acceptable to make use of one’s own thesis to some extent…I admit some parts were duplicated without the proper citation of sources” Hong said in comments carried by the Korea Times.
Hong’s predecessor Ryoo Kihl Jae was unexpectedly replaced in mid-February. The sudden nature of the change came as surprise to many observers in South Korean politics, some of whom believed that Ryoo’s departure was due to a lack of results during his term in office.
Picture: Eric Lafforgue
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