Ex-Navy chief under strong consideration for envoy to Australia

SEOUL, A retired Navy admiral is being strongly considered for South Korea’s new ambassador to Australia, a source said Monday, after former Ambassador and Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup stepped down from the post amid mounting controversy over his appointment.

Final arrangements are under way to name former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Sim Seung-seob as South Korea’s top envoy to Australia, according to the source. Sim served as the country’s navy chief from 2018-2020 during the former administration of Moon Jae-in and took part in the election campaign for President Yoon Suk Yeol.

The move comes nearly three months after Lee resigned on March 29, less than a month after he was named as South Korea’s ambassador to Australia amid criticism of his appointment and departure that came despite the fact that he was subject to an investigation.

Lee had been under intense scrutiny since he was named the ambassador in Canberra on March 4, after revelations that he had been banned from leaving the country over th
e investigation into allegations that he interfered in an internal military probe into a young Marine’s death last year.

If Sim is appointed, it would mark the second consecutive appointment of an ambassador with a military background amid Seoul’s push to expand its arms exports.

Australia, which has purchased South Korean K-9 self-propelled howitzers and Redback infantry fighting vehicles, is considered a key partner for the South Korean defense industry.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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