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New S. Korean Foreign Minister Named - 2004-01-16

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has named his foreign affairs adviser as the country's new foreign minister.

Ban Ki-moon was named as South Korea's top diplomat Friday, a day after the resignation of his predecessor, Yoon Young-kwan. Mr. Yoon resigned after failing to resolve disputes among ministry officials over how to balance policies toward the country's rival, North Korea, and its main ally, the United States.

President Roh's office said Mr. Ban is expected to "smoothly work on pending issues based on trust" with South Korea's allies.

The change in the key post comes as the country, along with other Asian nations and the United States, is trying to resolve an impasse over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Mr. Ban, who is considered a moderate, served as national security adviser to then-president Kim Young Sam in the 1990s, and as vice foreign minister in former president Kim Dae-jung's government in 2000 and 2001. He has served as foreign policy adviser since Mr. Roh took office last year.