Han Seung-soo

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Han Seung-soo
Han Seung-Soo - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2009.jpg
Han in 2009
35th Prime Minister of South Korea
In office
29 February 2008 – 28 September 2009
PresidentLee Myung-bak
Preceded byHan Duck-soo
Succeeded byChung Un-chan
Chief Presidential Secretary
In office
23 December 1994 – 21 December 1995
PresidentKim Young-sam
Preceded byPark Kwan-yong
Succeeded byKim Kwang-il
Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Korea
In office
President of the United Nations General Assembly
In office
18 September 2001 – 17 September 2002
Preceded byHarri Holkeri
Succeeded byJan Kavan
Personal details
Born (1936-12-28) 28 December 1936 (age 85)
Chuncheon, Kangwon, Japanese Korea
(now Chuncheon, Gangwon, South Korea)
Political partyGrand National
Alma materYonsei University
Seoul National University
University of York
Korean name
Revised RomanizationHan Seung-su
McCune–ReischauerHan Sŭngsu
Pen name
Revised RomanizationChungang
Korean royal family
(Cheongju Han clan)

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. Previously, he served as Foreign Minister,[1] Chief Presidential Secretary to Kim Young-sam.


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.[2]

Political and diplomatic career[edit]

He was first elected to the National Assembly in 1988. He was ambassador to the United States from 1993 to 1994, chief presidential secretary 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.[2]

After Lee Myung-bak won the December 2007 presidential election, he nominated Han as Prime Minister in late January 2008.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5]

In December 2013, Han was appointed Special Envoy for Disaster Risk Reduction and Water for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,[6] 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 Agency. In addition, Han served as a United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Change beginning May 2007.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dr. Han Seung-soo, President of the 56th session of the UN General Assembly". www.un.org. Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  2. ^ a b "한승수 前부총리 英서 KBE 작위" (in Korean).
  3. ^ "New South Korean leader names PM". BBC News. 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  4. ^ Kim Sue-young, "Assembly Endorses Han as Prime Minister", The Korea Times, 29 February 2008.
  5. ^ "3 Ministers Replaced", The Korea Times, 7 July 2008.
  6. ^ "Secretary-General Appoints Han Seung-Soo of Republic of Korea Special Envoy on Disaster Risk Reduction and Water". Press release. United Nations. 19 December 2013.
  7. ^ "UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Appoints Special Envoys on Climate Change". United Nations. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-13. Retrieved 2007-08-03.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of South Korea
Succeeded by
Positions in intergovernmental organisations
Preceded by President of the United Nations General Assembly
Succeeded by