14 September 2005

Biographical Note

Y.J Choi of Republic of Korea First Committee Chairman

NEW YORK, 13 September (UN Headquarters) -- Y.J. Choi, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations, was elected Chairman of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) on 13 June.

Mr. Choi was Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2004 and Chancellor of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, also in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in 2003.

In 2002, Mr. Choi was his country's Ambassador to Austria and Slovenia, and its Permanent Representative to all international organizations in Vienna, Austria.  From 2000 to 2001, he was Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and International Organizations, responsible for, among other things, foreign policy planning, North Korean Affairs, the United Nations system, disarmament and non-proliferation, and democracy and human rights.

Mr. Choi was Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations (1998-1999), during which time he oversaw planning and support for 17 peacekeeping operations, including those in Kosovo, Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

From 1995 to 1997, he was the Deputy Executive Director of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, based in New York City.  His duties included overseeing a $5 billion project to construct two light-water nuclear reactors in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

In the Foreign Affairs Ministry, he was Director-General of the International Economic Affairs Bureau from 1994 to 1995.  Between 1991 and 1993, he was First Senior Coordinator in the Ministry's Office of Policy Planning.  He was an Economic Counsellor at the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C., from 1988 to 1990.

He also served in the following capacities:  Senior Assistant to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Seoul (1987); Director, International Organizations Division (1986); Political Counsellor, Korean Embassy, Tunis, Tunisia (1983-1985); Director, Cultural Exchanges Division, Seoul (1981); Political Officer, Korean Embassy, Paris, France (1979-1981); and Political Officer, Korean Embassy, Dakar, Senegal (1977-1978).

Among his academic achievements, Mr. Choi earned his master's and doctorate degrees in international relations from the University of Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne), respectively, in 1980 and 1985.  For four years, he studied medicine at Yonsei University in Seoul (1967-1971).  He received his bachelor's degree with distinction in 1973 from the Department of International Relations, Yonsei University.  This spring, he was a resident diplomat scholar at the Fletcher School of Law, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts.  He is fluent in both English and French, and knows 2,000 characters in Chinese.

In addition, Mr. Choi has published the following works:  The Crisis of the Western Spirit (Seoul:  Hanvit, 1982); Rapprochement Sino-Americain (Paris:  Berger-Levraut, 1987); East-West Civilizations-A Comparative Perspective (Seoul:  Jishik, 1992); and The International Relations of East Asia during the Cold War Period (Seoul:  Jishik, 1996).

Born on 29 March, 1948 in Seoul, Republic of Korea, Mr. Choi is married and has two sons.

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* This supersedes Press Release BIO/3664 dated 8 June 2005.