New York, 15 June 2023 (TDI): In a significant achievement for South Korea, Rhee Zha-hyoung, Director-General for International Legal Affairs at the foreign ministry, has been elected as a judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). This marks the third consecutive time that Seoul has secured a seat in this esteemed international organization.

During the voting process held at the United Nations, Rhee Zha-hyoung garnered immense support from 144 out of the 164 voting member states. This overwhelming endorsement reflects the high regard and trust placed in his expertise and capabilities.

The 2023-2032 term will witness Rhee contributing his legal acumen to ITLOS, which plays a pivotal role in addressing global maritime issues and resolving sea border disputes among member states, operating under the framework of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

South Korea’s continuous presence at the tribunal since 1996 demonstrates the nation’s dedication to promoting and upholding international maritime law.

With Rhee’s election, Seoul’s foreign ministry warmly welcomed the outcome, recognizing its far-reaching implications.

The ministry affirmed, “Rhee’s win will not only upgrade South Korea’s status in the field of maritime law but also expand our role.” This achievement not only reinforces South Korea’s reputation as a responsible and capable participant in international organizations but also positions the nation to play a more prominent role in shaping and influencing matters pertaining to maritime law.

By securing a seat in ITLOS, South Korea affirms its commitment to maintaining a rules-based global order and ensuring the peaceful resolution of maritime disputes.

With Rhee Zha-hyoung’s election, South Korea stands ready to make significant contributions to the advancement of maritime law and the protection of the world’s oceans, further solidifying its position as a key player in the global maritime arena.

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The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) is an independent judicial body established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). ITLOS resolves disputes related to maritime boundaries, fishing rights, and environmental issues, promoting the peaceful settlement of disputes and ensuring the effective implementation of international maritime law.