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Seoul's trade minister Yoo Myung-hee delivers WTO chief candidacy speech, highlighting need for reform Updated: 2020-07-17 13:12:55 KST

South Korea's trade minister Yoo Myung-hee, who is running for the next director-general of the WTO is insisting that Japan will look at her credentials as a candidate rather than the ongoing bilateral dispute between Seoul and Tokyo.

"I'm confident that Japan will also look at the candidates, when they actually look at the candidates, to Japan, what is almost as important is the person, the candidate competence and capabilities to save and enhance the WTO and also to take WTO reforms. So, in that regard, I will reach out to Japanese colleagues and will present my vision for the WTO and I'm confident they will also approach this issue rather than in the perspective, from the perspectives of the dispute, but from the perspectives of saving and promoting the multilateral trading system."

During her speech in Geneva, Minister Yoo also highlighted that she's capable of carrying out organizational reforms.
Yoo, who is running against seven other candidates, faces opposition from Japan, especially following diplomatic rows between the two countries stemming from the South Korean Supreme Court's ruling that ordered Japanese firms to compensate the Korean victims of Japan's wartime forced labor.
Asked about possible opposition from Beijing backed by fears that regional balance considerations could lead it to lose its deputy director-general seat, Yoo expressed confidence that she had a great relationship with China while working at the South Korean embassy in Beijing for three years and working on the free trade agreement between the two Asian neighbors.
Seoul's trade minister also underscored that her vision for the WTO centers on rebuilding trust in the multilateral trading system by making it (quote) "more relevant, resilient and responsive."
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.

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