South Korea’s Foreign Minister Park Jin Eyes Return to National Assembly

SEOUL - South Korea's Foreign Minister Park Jin announced his intention on Friday to resume his role as a lawmaker in the National Assembly by the end of the year, anticipating a Cabinet reshuffle ahead of the 2023 general elections. This statement was made during an interview with the news channel YTN, amidst speculation of his participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections in April.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Park Jin, who currently represents the ruling People Power Party in the parliament, expressed a desire to reinforce the party's credibility and alignment with public interests. "Although I am cautious, I plan to do my best so that the People Power Party becomes a trusted ruling party based on the people's will by returning to my original place at the National Assembly if a Cabinet reshuffle takes place at the end of the year," he remarked.

While Park, a seasoned politician with four terms in the legislature, did not explicitly confirm his candidacy for next year's parliamentary elections, he emphasized the paramount importance of the success of President Yoon Suk Yeol's government.

In the same interview, Park addressed a recent local media report regarding the Netherlands' dissatisfaction with South Korea's diplomatic protocol demands ahead of President Yoon's state visit. Dismissing the report as somewhat exaggerated, Park clarified that such differences are common and usually resolved through diplomatic consultations.

Park also highlighted several diplomatic achievements of South Korea this year. Notably, he pointed out the significant improvement in relations with Japan following Seoul's decision in March to independently compensate Korean victims of Japanese wartime forced labor. This move marked a turning point in the long-standing tension between the two countries over historical issues.

Additionally, Park cited the strengthening of South Korea's alliance with the United States and the establishment of regular trilateral cooperation with the U.S. and Japan as key accomplishments. This tripartite collaboration was exemplified in August at the Camp David summit, where leaders from the three nations, including President Yoon, U.S. President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, agreed on a joint statement outlining annual talks among their leaders, foreign ministers, defense ministers, and national security advisers.

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