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S. Korea welcomes inauguration of top U.S. diplomat

All Headlines 16:24 February 02, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Thursday welcomed the inauguration of United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and said Seoul is in talks with Washington to arrange an early phone dialogue between him and South Korea's top diplomat.

The U.S. Senate approved the former Exxon Mobil CEO as secretary on Wednesday and he was sworn in on the same day.

"Secretary of State Rex Tillerson finished the confirmation by Congress and officially took office earlier. The (South Korean) government welcomes the move," Cho June-hyuck, spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a press briefing.

"As Tillerson has a deep understanding of and interests in Korean Peninsula issues, his inauguration is expected to bring the South Korea-U.S. ties one step closer," Cho said. "(Seoul) plans to have intimate communications with the secretary on key issues of interest."

The spokesman said the allies are currently in discussion to set up a meeting between Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Tillerson, as well as a phone call.

Sources said Yun and Tillerson may hold a phone call within the week at the earliest.

How to deal with North Korea's increasing nuclear and missile threats is likely to be the main topic of the conversation as well as the hosting of an early face-to-face meeting of the policymakers.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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