Shin, 64, a professor at Seoul National University College of Medicine, will serve a five-year term that begins February 1, 2009. He replaces Japan's Shigeru Omi, who is winding up his second five-year term.
Shin was chosen over Viliami Ta'u Tangi, the concurrent deputy prime minister and health minister of Tonga, and Tee Ah Sian of Malaysia, who is head of the communicable diseases section of WHO Western Pacific.
The WHO's Western Pacific office covers 37 countries and territories, including China and the rest of East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the Pacific island countries and some parts of Southeast Asia.
The WHO regional committee is currently meeting in Manila.