Terraform Labs CFO Extradited from Montenegro to Face Investigation in South KoreaGender Ministry and Broadcasting Watchdog Among Lowest Rated in 2023 Performance EvaluationNational Security Adviser of South Korea Meets Russian Deputy Foreign Minister in Seoul

SEOUL — Han Chang-joon, a significant figure associated with Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon, was extradited from Montenegro and is set to arrive in South Korea on Tuesday afternoon, according to the justice ministry. Han, the 37-year-old chief financial officer of Terraform Labs, will be brought directly to the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors Office upon his arrival at Incheon International Airport. He faces investigation over the dramatic collapse of the cryptocurrency firm, which erased close to 50 trillion won (US$37.5 billion) in market value.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Montenegrin authorities have officially handed Han over to South Korean officials, following his arrest last year alongside Do Kwon at Podgorica Airport for attempting to flee to Dubai using forged passports. The extradition effort for Do Kwon, who remains detained in Montenegro, is ongoing, with a decision expected by February 15, the date his detention is scheduled to end. The ministry expressed gratitude towards Montenegro for their cooperation in extraditing Han Chang-joon and reiterated its commitment to securing the extradition of Do Kwon, the primary suspect in the Terraform Labs investigation. TerraUSD, the stablecoin at the heart of the controversy, disastrously devalued in May, dropping as low as 10 cents and deviating from its intended 1-to-1 peg with the U.S. dollar.

SEOUL, South Korea - In the latest government performance assessment, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family along with the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) were among four agencies to receive the lowest ratings for their work in 2023. This annual evaluation, conducted by the Office for Government Policy Coordination, scrutinized the performance of 45 central government agencies across four distinct categories.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, the KCC, the Ministry of Unification, and the Personal Information Protection Commission were the four minister-level agencies that received a "C" rating, the lowest possible score. Remarkably, three of these entities, with the exception of the Ministry of Unification, have been rated lowest for the second consecutive year. The Ministry of Gender Equality and the KCC were particularly noted for receiving the lowest rating across all categories in this year's evaluation.

The backdrop to these evaluations includes significant political and administrative developments. President Yoon Suk Yeol, during his campaign, had committed to disbanding the Ministry of Gender Equality, a promise that has undoubtedly influenced perceptions of the ministry's relevance and effectiveness. The KCC, on the other hand, has been embroiled in internal disputes, highlighted by the resignation of its former Chairman Lee Dong-kwan last year, just ahead of a parliamentary vote on his impeachment.

The Office for Government Policy Coordination attributed these low scores primarily to negative public perceptions regarding the effectiveness of the policies implemented by these agencies or to their inadequate management. In contrast to the underperforming agencies, 12 others, including the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, received the highest marks in the 2023 assessment.

The evaluation process was thorough, involving insights from 222 civil experts and incorporating feedback from a survey of 30,000 members of the public, ensuring a broad and informed perspective on the performance of these key government bodies.

SEOUL — In a significant development amid escalating tensions with Moscow over North Korea, South Korea's National Security Adviser Chang Ho-jin met with Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko during his visit to Seoul last week.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the meeting, which took place on Saturday, comes at a time of renewed strains following the Russian Foreign Ministry's sharp criticism of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol's comments on North Korea. The ministry's spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, labeled President Yoon's remarks as "blatantly biased" last Thursday, prompting Seoul to summon Russian Ambassador Georgy Zinoviev to express its objections. Observers interpret the dialogue between Chang and Rudenko as a sign of both countries' desire to preserve stable bilateral relations amidst the controversy. Chang, who had previously served as the ambassador to Russia from August 2022 to April of the preceding year, was Rudenko's counterpart in these talks. It was also noted that Rudenko had discussions with South Korea's Deputy Foreign Minister Chung Byung-won and top nuclear envoy Kim Gunn on Friday, focusing on the conflict in Ukraine and the dynamics of their bilateral relationship.

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