SEOUL • South Korea will send special envoys to the United States, China, Japan, Russia and Germany to establish firmer ties as tensions mount on the Korean Peninsula in the wake of a missile launch by North Korea at the weekend.
One notable appointment was former prime minister Lee Hae Chan as the special envoy on the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) missile defence system and North Korea.
Mr Lee will head to China, in a role similar to one he he has taken previously for former president Roh Moo Hyun.
Mr Moon Jae In's office said yesterday that the President picked figures who can best understand his diplomatic vision and foreign policy.
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The envoys will carry handwritten letters to the President's counterparts, expressing his willingness for a cooperative diplomacy.
They will meet high-ranking officials to explain the new South Korean government's policy plans and exchange opinions on how to develop bilateral relations, the presidential Blue House office said.
Included among the South Korean envoys was Mr Hong Seok Hyun, former ambassador to the United States and former chairman of South Korean newspaper Joongang Ilbo and broadcaster JTBC, who is heading for the US.
"Hong was ambassador to Washington in 2005. He is well aware of the country's affairs and has established a wide network there," the Blue House said in a statement quoted by The Korea Times.
Former parliament deputy speaker and veteran Democratic Party lawmaker Moon Hee Sang will visit Japan, while former Incheon City mayor and another Democratic Party lawmaker Song Young Gil will visit Russia.
Mr Song received the order of friendship from Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2013 for promoting friendship between the two countries, such as setting up a sister relationship between Incheon and St Petersburg, said The Korea Times.
Mr Cho Yoon Je, one of Mr Moon's economic policy advisers during his recent campaign, will travel to Germany.