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S Korea hopes to work closely with Biden as Blinken on new team

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SEOUL: South Korea anticipates working closely with US President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, to deepen the alliance between the two countries, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
Ministry spokesperson Choi Young-sam made the remark after Blinken was named to be Biden’s first secretary of state, saying the former deputy secretary of state under the Barack Obama administration has a deep understanding of Korean Peninsula issues, Yonhap news agency reported.
“In the case of Blinken, the nominee for secretary of state, he is known for his ample experience and expertise in foreign affairs. He also has a deep understanding of South Korea-US relations and Korean Peninsula issues,” Choi said in a press briefing.
“We will work with these officials under the next US administration in the hopes to further develop the Korea-US alliance,” he said.
Blinken’s nomination raised the prospects that he might take a more realistic approach to North Korea’s denuclearization, akin to the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.
When asked about Blinken’s views, a foreign ministry official said Tuesday that the government does not presuppose or make predictions based on certain remarks.
“We value his expertise on issues including the Korean Peninsula and we’re doing a lot of research at our bureaus, including the North America affairs bureau, on how we’re going to work with him,” Choi added.
Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state under President Barack Obama and then Vice President Biden from 2015 to 2017. He also served as deputy national security adviser under the former US president.