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(LEAD) Presidential office to convene NSC session over U.S. election impact

All Headlines 15:31 November 09, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info from 4th para)

SEOUL, Nov. 9 (Yonhap) -- The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae will convene a session of the National Security Council on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the potential impact of the U.S. presidential election, officials in Seoul said.

South Korea has been carefully watching the U.S. presidential vote as its outcome will affect the Asian country's economic and diplomatic relations with its superpower ally.

Media reports showed that Republican candidate Donald Trump is ahead of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as vote counting continues.

Trump's electoral win would foretell a change in the relationship between Seoul and Washington, analysts here said, as on the stump, the real estate tycoon has made a series of disturbing remarks that questioned the economic value of the security alliance and belittled the bilateral free trade agreement as a "disaster."

Meanwhile, observers said a win by the former secretary of state would largely mean policy continuity given that she, along with her policy aides, spearheaded Washington's ongoing strategic refocus on the Asia-Pacific -- also known as the "pivot to Asia" -- following a decade of ground warfare in the Middle East.

Mindful of concerns about any shift in the bilateral relationship, officials from both Seoul and Washington have repeatedly said that the alliance would remain strong regardless of who will be at the helm of the world's most powerful nation.

The U.S. election came as the two countries have been seeking to bolster security cooperation in the face of an increasingly provocative North Korea.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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