South Korea's First Woman Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha To Step Down

As Kang Kyung-wha steps down from the position of the Foreign Minister of South Korea, Chunf Eui-yong gets ready to take over.

Shriya Sarang
New Update

South Korea's first woman Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha has decided to step down from her responsibilities. She is now going to be replaced by Chung Eui-yong. Kang has also been a part of the inter-Korea summit. She is also the first foreign minister to visit Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.


Kang Kyung-wha

Kang Kyung-wha has worked at the office for three and a half years as she kept the foundation stone for women by becoming the first woman to be nominated for and to hold the position of the Foreign Minister of Korea. Bong Youngshik who is a research fellow at Yonsei University Institute for North Korean Studies said that ''Kang broke the glass ceiling.'' He further added, ''Her first day of service, which I think was her best moment as the foreign minister, represented that Seoul is preparing to actively participate in multilateral diplomacy in the global era … She had the experience and expertise for that.''

Additionally, Kang Kyung-wha has also served under three consecutive Secretaries-General, from Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon to the current officeholder, Antonio Guterres in the United Nations.

In the year 2017, her nomination nevertheless caused a stir, for it was unusual for a South Korean president to appoint someone outside of the traditional community of diplomats who passed an official exam. 

The presidential Blue House made an announcement that Kang would step down after witnessing the revival of inter-Korean diplomacy. As per the law, the nominee must be confirmed within 20 days of the announcement made by the president. Hence, Chung Eui-yong is set to take over Kang Kyung-wha. 

Chung Eui-yong


While making the big announcement, Chung Man-ho who is a spokesperson at the Blue House said, “The foreign minister candidate, Chung Eui-yong, is a top expert who dedicated his entire life to the field of diplomacy and security.

Chung Eui-yong has previously served as President Moon Jae-in's first Director of the Office of National Security. Chung is a South Korean diplomat and politician and has also visited Pyongyang as the Special Envoy to North Korea. Back in March 2018, Chung Eui-yong made the announcement at the White House that Trump would “meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization” — remarks that further carried the honeymoon of inter-Korean relations.

However, now that inter-Korean talks and U.S.-North Korea diplomacy are largely stalled, it’s still unclear whether Chung’s past experience will carry much weight in Washington, according to some experts. As it stands, his predictions of “permanent denuclearization” have yet to come true. About Chung, Bong Youngshik has said, "President Moon will expect a lot from Chung, but Washington will treat him with caution." Among others who have expressed their opinions about this issue is Choi Kang, vice president of research at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. He agreed that, “They may listen to what says, but that doesn’t mean that they will agree with it.”

South Korean Women