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Kerry raises N. Korean gulag issue in confirmation hearing

All Headlines 01:02 January 25, 2013

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 (Yonhap) -- Sen. John Kerry, the nominee to be secretary of state, said Thursday that the Obama administration should be more vocal in criticizing the issue of North Korean political prisoners.

Testifying at a confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which he was long chairman, Kerry emphasized that American foreign policy is "defined by leadership of life-threatening issues like climate change, or fighting to lift up millions of lives by promoting freedom and democracy from Africa to the Americas and speaking out for the prisoners of gulags in North Korea and victims of human trafficking."

He also pointed out that today's world has become "more complicated" partly due to the emergence of China. He did not elaborate in his prepared opening remarks, which focused on a broad diplomatic vision.

On Iran, he reaffirmed efforts to curb its nuclear ambitions.

"The president has made it definitive -- we will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," he said.

Kerry appeared at the hearing with outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

lcd@yna.co.kr

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