Former North Korean diplomat named president of unification institute

Ko Young-hwan, formerly a North Korean diplomat before he defected to South Korea in 1991, speaks after being named a special aide to Unification Minister Kim Yung-ho in this Sept. 6, 2023 photo.  Yonhap

A North Korean diplomat-turned-defector has recently been appointed the president of the National Institute for Unification Education (NIU).Ko Young-hwan, who had worked as a North Korean diplomat in Africa for more than 10 years before defecting to South Korea in 1991, was selected through a public contest and will serve his two-year term until May 2026.Before taking office, he served as a special aide to Unification Minister Kim Yung-ho and vice president of the Institute for National Security Strategy.

The NIU is committed to developing various unification education programs to foster public opinion on peaceful unification on the Korean Peninsula.Ko started his diplomatic career in 1979 and worked in central and east Africa, including the North Korean Embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly known as Zaire), while interpreting French for late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il several times in his meetings with French-speaking African leaders.“The ministry has been encouraging and supporting North Korean defectors to work in the public sector. Ko sets a good example for both North Korean defectors who have settled in South Korea and North Korean residents. He shows how a North Korean defector can fully demonstrate his 스포츠토토존 expertise to contribute to our society,” the Ministry of Unification said.

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