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RUDD QUITS IN 'SOAP OPERA'
Embattled, embittered and perhaps a bit embarrassed, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd shocked colleagues with his surprise resignation this week while he was on an official visit to Washington.
In a hastily called news conference Wednesday, Mr. Rudd denounced “faceless men” in the Australian government who have “attacked my integrity and, therefore, my fitness to serve” as foreign minister. He called the attacks a “soap opera.”
He also criticized Miss Gillard for failing to “repudiate” the mudslinging.
“I can only reluctantly conclude that she shares those views,” he said.
“The truth is I can only serve as foreign minister if I have the confidence of Prime Minister Gillard and her senior ministers,” he said.
He added that “under no circumstances do I want Australia’s international reputation brought into disrepute because of this ongoing saga.”
Miss Gillard, meanwhile, wasted no time in preparing to prevent him from building momentum for a leadership challenge. She scheduled a vote for Monday for Labor Party lawmakers to decide whether they want her to continue as prime minister.
Mr. Rudd arrived in Washington just after an embarrassing video went viral.
It was filmed during his premiership and showed him cursing, pounding a fist on his office desk and expressing his frustration at trying to learn a few lines of Chinese for a scheduled speech.
He said he suspected political opponents in Miss Gillard’s office posted the video, which has been viewed nearly 600,000 times.
LEE TAPS U.N. ENVOY
Choi Young-jin, a 63-year-old career diplomat, served as South Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 to 2007, when U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed him as his special envoy to the Ivory Coast.
He will replace Mr. Han, who resigned unexpectedly last week. Mr. Han, himself a former South Korean prime minister, privately had said he planned to resign after helping win congressional approval for the landmark South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
Political insiders in Seoul had expected Mr. Han to name either Chun Yung-woo, a presidential adviser, or Il SaKong, former chairman of the Korea International Trade Association, as ambassador to the United States.
• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The column is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
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About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
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