September 28, 2021 12:35
South Korea was elected chair of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors at a meeting in Vienna on Monday.
This is the first time for the country to chair the nuclear watchdog since it joined in 1957.
The board inspects and verifies compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, often focusing on countries like North Korea and Iran that have a history of flagrant disregard.
It consists of 35 of the IAEA's 173 member states and is one of two policy-making bodies along with the annual General Conference.
"Korea has been recognized for its proactive contribution to IAEA activities for the peaceful use of nuclear energy as a leading nation in the non-proliferation field," a Foreign Ministry spokesman here said. It is also the world's 11th largest contributor to the IAEA fund.
The chairmanship is held for a one-year term as representatives of the member states' eight regions take turn. The Far Eastern region has been given the chairmanship seven times since the IAEA's founding, with Japan holding it six times. But this time member states felt it was someone else's turn. The ministry spokesman claimed the members considered it "undesirable" for Japan to "dominate" the position.
Shin Chae-hyun, the ambassador to Austria and the Permanent Mission to the International Organizations in Vienna, will serve as chairman until September 2022.
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