December 31, 2009 09:40
Beijing has reportedly named Yang Houlan as the new ambassador to Seoul. He replaces Cheng Yonghua, who becomes ambassador to Tokyo.
A senior diplomatic source in Seoul said on Wednesday that the Chinese Foreign Ministry conducted a lengthy game of musical chairs since the retirement of Wu Dawei, who was the chief Chinese delegate to six-party nuclear talks.
Yang is well-versed in Korean affairs, having worked as deputy chief of mission and minister counselor at the Chinese embassies in Seoul and Pyongyang. He was ambassador to Afghanistan from March 2007 to April 2009.
He would be the first Chinese ambassador to Seoul with an American university background, unlike his predecessors, who studied at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang. But like Li Bin and Ning Fukui before him, Yang rises to the post after working in lower positions at both Korean embassies.
Meanwhile, Wu’s successor as chief negotiator in the six-party talks is Cui Tiankai, the current ambassador to Tokyo.
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