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Foreign ministry shakes up units to bolster strategies, intelligence

May 28, 2024 - 09:09 By Yonhap
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The South Korean foreign ministry said Tuesday it revamped its units to bolster regional strategies and intelligence gathering, while downsizing the bureau handling North Korean nuclear issues, in a major shakeup amid the deadlock in nuclear talks with Pyongyang.

In March, the ministry announced the reorganization plan centering on downsizing the bureau in charge of North Korean issues and revamping other units, citing the changing diplomatic and geopolitical landscape.

Under the new structure, the tentatively named Office of Strategy and Intelligence has four units under its wing: strategy and policy planning, diplomatic intelligence, the Korean Peninsula policy and international security bureaus.

"It aims to more effectively realize the government's vision as a 'global pivotal state' and to respond more strategically to the complex challenges in the rapidly changing international environment," the ministry said.

The shakeup marks a major change about 18 years after the Korean Peninsula office was established amid the flurry of nuclear diplomacy with the North in the early 2000s, including the six-party talks that involved the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

However, the prolonged deadlock in nuclear negotiations with the North, and the change in foreign policy landscape have called for a revision in the organizational structure, the ministry said.

The new strategy and intelligence office will be responsible for gathering and analyzing foreign policy-related intelligence and sharing the analysis with relevant government agencies to better help with the policy-making process.

A new division in charge of Indo-Pacific affairs has been created under the strategy and policy planning bureau.

The existing bureau responsible for international organizations took over nuclear energy-related affairs from the nonproliferation bureau.

The ministry also added a new unit handling economic security issues, such as supply chains, as they have emerged as key foreign policy agenda items in recent years.

The Northeast Asia bureau has been renamed the bureau for Northeast Asia and Central Asia affairs. (Yonhap)