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State Dept. says U.S. agreed to consider new 'alliance dialogue'

Diplomacy 06:55 September 15, 2020

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 (Yonhap) -- The United States has agreed to "positively consider" launching a bilateral dialogue channel with South Korea to discuss alliance issues, the State Department said Monday.

The reaction follows controversy that South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun may have hastily announced the proposed launch of the so-called "alliance dialogue" after his recent meeting with his U.S. counterpart Stephen Biegun.

"VFM Choi and Deputy Secretary Biegun agreed that both governments should continue to take steps to strengthen the alliance," a State Department spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency when asked. "To that end, VFM Choi proposed a bilateral alliance dialogue, which Deputy Secretary Biegun agreed to positively consider."

Choi and Biegun met Thursday here in Washington, about three weeks after Choi was appointed a vice foreign minister. Previously, Choi served as a secretary at the National Security Council of the presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae.

"At the consultation, (the sides) agreed to newly establish a tentatively named 'Alliance Dialogue,' which would be a working-level consultation body between director-level officials from the two countries' foreign ministries," Choi said while meeting with reporters here on Thursday.

In a readout of the meeting, released the next day, the State Department failed to address the issue of launching a new alliance dialogue.

"The U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance is a pillar of stability and security in East Asia, and our relationship encompasses cooperation across many dimensions, including trade and people-to-people ties," the State Department spokesperson said Monday.

Choi earlier said the allies were seeking to launch the new alliance dialogue in mid-October.


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