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Amb. Harris says hello to Koreans via Twitter video

All Headlines 16:32 July 05, 2018

SEOUL, July 5 (Yonhap) -- New U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris pledged Thursday to do his best to maintain the "closest friendship and strongest alliance" between the two sides as he's expected to begin formal work here next week.

Saying hello to South Koreans in a video posted on the Twitter account of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, he emphasized the importance of their relations as well as his personal ties with Korea and affection for the Asian country.

"It will be a great privilege for me to serve as President Trump's representative in a country that's an ally and an important partner of the U.S., not only in Northeast Asia but globally," he said in the 89-second clip.

"For decades, our two nations have stood together, the closest friends and the strongest allies. I intend to do everything I can to maintain that bond."

Amb. Harry Harris delivers a video message to South Koreans via the Twitter account of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul on July 5, 2018. (Yonhap)

In childhood, he said, he was told about Korea by his father, who was in the U.S. Navy and participated in the 1950-53 Korean War, including his experience working with South Korean Navy in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang Province.

Harris, a former admiral and commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, now renamed the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, has also traveled to South Korea many times.

In 2014, he was awarded the "Tongil Medal" of South Korea's Order of National Security Merit in recognition of his contribution to the combined defense posture.

He introduced himself as a "huge fan" of Korean food and drink, especially "bibimbap," or rice mixed with various vegetables, and Andong soju, which is a local liquor brand.

Harris added that he and his wife admire Korea's cultural heritage and even collect Korean traditional masks.

He said he's looking forward to traveling to the southern resort island of Jeju again together with his wife.

He concluded his message by saying thank you in Korean and, "See you soon."

The Senate confirmed him as Washington's top envoy in Seoul in late June, filling a post that had been vacant since January last year.

He was the U.S. military's veteran Asia hand and is known as an architect of Washington's brand-new Asia-Pacific strategy.

He will likely arrive in Seoul next week and start his service immediately, a diplomatic source said.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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