In this Jan. 23, 2018, photo, Kim Jong Yang, the senior vice president of Interpol executive committee, speaks during a press conference in Changwon, South Korea. Kim, the acting president of Interpol.
In this Jan. 23, 2018, photo, Kim Jong Yang, the senior vice president of Interpol executive committee, speaks during a press conference in Changwon, South Korea. Kim, the acting president of Interpol.

Interpol's general assembly voted Wednesday to make South Korea's Kim Jong Yang its new president.

Kim had been serving as the organization's acting president and will serve the final two years of the term of the man he replaced — China's Meng Hongwei, who disappeared while visiting his native country in late September and was later said to be detained on bribery allegations. The general assembly will vote again for the person who will serve the next four-year term.

"Our world is now facing unprecedented changes which present huge challenges to public security and safety," Interpol quoted Kim as saying. "To overcome them, we need a clear vision: We need to build a bridge to the future."

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a tweet, congratulated Kim, calling him "the right man to lead one of the world's most critical law enforcement bodies."

The result of Wednesday's election was to some degree a surprise after many considered Russia's Alexander Prokopchuk, one of Interpol's vice presidents, as the front-runner in the race.

Kremlin critics said putting Prokopchuk in charge of Interpol would politicize the organization. A group of four U.S. senators accused him of being "personally involved" in what they call Russia's routine "abuses of Interpol for the purpose of settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents, and journalists."

The Kremlin said Wednesday's vote took place in "an environment of unprecedented pressure," but that there was no reason not to accept the results.