S. Korea’s top nuclear envoy joins PPP ahead of April’s general elections

South Korea’s top nuclear envoy has joined the ruling People Power Party (PPP) about a month before the April general elections, the party said Thursday.

Kim Gunn, the special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, was recruited to the PPP with three other new talents, the party’s leader, Han Dong-hoon said at a welcoming event.

“I find it amazing and am grateful that more weighty and respectable individuals are coming to the party,” Han said. “We believe Kim will help the PPP get selected by the people in April when magnolia blossoms.”

Kim is widely expected to be included on the short list of candidates of the PPP’s satellite party, competing for proportional representative seats.

A career diplomat, Kim, 58, has been South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy since the administration of President Yoon Suk Yeol came into office in May of 2022.

Kim is the first nuclear envoy to resign while in office and directly join a political party.

Critics have raised concerns his surprise departure
could undermine Seoul’s policy on North Korea and its coordination with his counterparts in the United States and other countries.

But Han rejected such concerns, saying Kim’s departure is no different from lawmakers who were former journalists.

“Why is it inappropriate?” Han told reporters when asked whether he thought Kim’s sudden departure was inappropriate. “How about those who come over from the press? We could take issue with departures of prosecutors or judges, but a diplomat? I am not sure.”

Kim is said to have expressed his intent to resign earlier and to have been relieved of his position Thursday.

Source: Yonhap News Agency