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(2nd LD) FM calls for efforts to develop alliance, Korea peace process with Biden administration

Diplomacy 23:03 November 30, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with Kang's remarks in paras 1-7; CHANGES headline, photos)

SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Yonhap) -- Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha called Monday for active efforts to develop the Seoul-Washington alliance and advance the Korean Peninsula peace process in cooperation with the incoming Joe Biden administration in the United States.

Kang issued the call during a videoconference late Monday with more than 180 South Korean ambassadors and consuls general, which marked the opening of a three-day conference the foreign ministry is hosting virtually this week.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha speaks during a virtual conference with South Korean ambassadors and consuls general from the foreign ministry in Seoul on Nov. 30, 2020. (Yonhap)

"We must maintain close cooperation with the (Donald) Trump administration until the end, and make active efforts for the development of the South Korea-U.S. alliance and progress in the Korean Peninsula peace process by strengthening strategic communication with the new administration of (Joe) Biden," the minister said.

Kang noted the importance of further strengthening the two countries' bilateral and multilateral trade relations, as well as realizing their common values of democracy, peace, human rights and multilateral cooperation.

"In particular, we must strengthen our bilateral partnership to overcome COVID-19 and address the climate crisis, which are international issues we face," she added.

On China, Kang stressed the importance of maintaining close communication to continue to develop the bilateral strategic cooperation partnership, citing last week's visit to Seoul by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

On Japan, the minister called for maintaining the government's current policy of resolving historical rows and pursuing practical cooperation on separate tracks.

This photo shows a virtual conference between Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (upper left-hand corner) and 186 South Korean diplomatic mission chiefs being broadcast on a monitor installed at the foreign ministry in Seoul on Nov. 30, 2020. (Yonhap)

Ambassadors, consuls general and other diplomatic mission chiefs from 186 posts around the world attended Monday's online meeting. President Moon Jae-in and National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug also delivered video messages in a show of support.

"Regaining economic vitality is the most urgent task, and we need active economic diplomacy," Moon said in his message.

"I ask you to figure out each country's economic trends and ensure that the successes of 'K-quarantine' lead to increased exports," he added, referring to South Korea's aggressive response to the coronavirus pandemic.

During the conference, the participants discussed ways to enhance the functions of the overseas missions in a way that they would better adapt to the changing diplomatic and economic environments in the post-COVID-19 era, such as providing more adequate support for Korean citizens and businesspeople.

Running through Wednesday, the conference will feature various sessions, including virtual one-on-one meetings between businesspeople and officials from the overseas missions to hear their experience of and opinions about doing business abroad amid the pandemic and in the post-pandemic era.

As part of efforts to step up public diplomacy, the conference will also offer panel discussions, including an experts' session on the prospects for international relations after the November U.S. presidential election, in which about 100 citizens will also be able to take part via virtual links, the ministry said.

elly@yna.co.kr
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