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(LEAD) Diplomats of S. Korea, U.S. hold video talks to prep for senior economic meeting

Diplomacy 16:14 June 25, 2020

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SEOUL, June 25 (Yonhap) -- Diplomats of South Korea and the United States held a videoconference Thursday to prepare for annual vice-ministerial economic talks where America's push to shift global supply chains away from China could be high on the agenda.

The foreign ministry said that Yang Dong-han, director-general for bilateral economic affairs, and two deputy U.S. assistant secretaries of state -- David Meale and Marc Knapper -- discussed plans for the Senior Economic Dialogue (SED) slated for later this year.

The talks came as Washington is fleshing out the "Economic Prosperity Network" that it said would consist of countries, companies and civil societies that share "democratic values" -- an allusion to operating rules that China may balk at.

Second Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho and his U.S. counterpart, Keith Krach, will lead this year's SED. The previous SED took place in November last year.

During Thursday's talks, Yang and Knapper agreed to cooperate to help revitalize the world economy hit by the new coronavirus pandemic, while noting the importance of the two countries' economic ties as a "key pillar" of their alliance.

They also exchanged views on cooperation in responding to COVID-19 and progress in the two countries' efforts to find common ground between Seoul's New Southern Policy and Washington's Indo-Pacific strategy.

The New Southern Policy aims to deepen Korea's relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and India, while the Indo-Pacific Strategy seeks to enhance America's engagement with partner countries and protect what it calls the rules-based order in the region.

This photo, taken on Nov. 6, 2019, shows Second Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho (R) shaking hands with his U.S. counterpart, Keith Krach, before their Senior Economic Dialogue at the foreign ministry in Seoul. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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