Han Seung-soo

This is a Korean name; the family name is Han.
Han Seung-soo
Prime Minister of South Korea
In office
29 February 2008  28 September 2009
President Lee Myung-bak
Preceded by Han Deok-Su
Succeeded by Chung Un-chan
Personal details
Born (1936-12-28) 28 December 1936
Gangwon, Japanese Korea
(now Gangwon-do, South Korea)
Political party Grand National Party
Alma mater Yonsei University
Seoul National University
University of York
Profession Economist
Religion Roman Catholicism
Korean name
Hangul 한승수
Revised Romanization Han Seung-su
McCune–Reischauer Han Sŭngsu
Pen name
Hangul 춘강
Revised Romanization Chungang
McCune–Reischauer Ch'ungang

Han Seung-soo (born 28 December 1936) is a South Korean politician and diplomat. He was Prime Minister of South Korea from 29 February 2008 to 28 September 2009, and was the President of the 56th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, in 2001 and 2002.


Han received his bachelor's degree from Yonsei University in 1960. He acquired his master's degree from Seoul National University in 1963, and his doctorate in economics from University of York in 1968. He went on to hold various professorial positions in the United Kingdom and South Korea.

Political and diplomatic career

He was first elected to the National Assembly in 1988. He was ambassador to the United States from 1993 to 1994, chief of staff to President Kim Young Sam from 1994 to 1995, and Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister from 1996 to 1997.

In April 2001, Han was appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea. He was elected the President of the fifty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2001.

After his term in the United Nations, he re-entered politics and was elected into the Korean National Assembly in 2002. Before the elections, he left the posts of Chairman of the UN General Assembly and Foreign Minister.

In 2004, he was honored as an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth II.[1]

After Lee Myung-bak won the December 2007 presidential election, he nominated Han as Prime Minister in late January 2008.[2] Han's nomination was approved by the National Assembly on 29 February 2008, with 270 votes in favor and 94 opposed. The United Democratic Party, which considered Han to be unsuitable, caused the vote to be delayed from the initially planned date of 25 February, but it eventually decided not to oppose Han's nomination after the withdrawal of three other ministerial nominations that it opposed.[3]

Due to controversy and protests regarding a deal to import beef from the United States, Han and his Cabinet offered their resignations in June 2008. Lee reshuffled the Cabinet slightly on 7 July, replacing three ministers but keeping Han and most of his Cabinet in place.[4]

In December 2013, Han was appointed Special Envoy for Disaster Risk Reduction and Water for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,[5] also serving as Chair of the High-Level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters and as a member of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation. In addition, Han served as a United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Change beginning May 2007.[6]

See also


Political offices
Preceded by
Lee Jeong-bin
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Choe Seong-hong
Preceded by
Han Duck-soo
Prime Minister of South Korea
Succeeded by
Chung Un-chan
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Harri Holkeri
President of the United Nations General Assembly
Succeeded by
Jan Kavan
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