The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it will open 14 senior posts at overseas diplomatic missions to non-diplomats, a move to boost the expertise and competitiveness of South Korean diplomacy.
Four of the posts are economic diplomatic ministers in the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.
The ministry said it issued an advance notice of the new legislature through the official government newsletter last week. The ministry will gather public opinions by Jan. 19 about the changes.
It is the first time that the Foreign Ministry has opened overseas senior positions to non-diplomats.
Under the plan, 10 senior posts at overseas diplomatic missions, including minister to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and deputy ambassador to the United Nations Secretariat and International Organizations in Geneva will be open to non-diplomats.
Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan has repeatedly stressed that South Korean diplomacy needs to attract talent from outside the ministry to boost its expertise and competitiveness.
Those applying for the open posts are required to possess a high level of proficiency in foreign languages. For English-speaking regions, applicants’ language skills should prove to be equivalent to holding at least Grade 4 of the English-commanding ability set by the Foreign Ministry. The grade level is equivalent to a 243 TOEFL score, 870 TOEIC score and a TEPS score of 800.
The ministry also plans to increase the staff at overseas diplomatic missions by 54 this year, and focus more on resources and energy diplomacy in the African region.
The ministry will dispatch four more employees at the Foreign Affairs and Security Research Institute to be affiliated with the Korea National Diplomat Academy in the second half of this year.
By Kim Yoon-mi (email@example.com