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(LEAD) Blinken says U.S. is 'better positioned' to deal with N. Korea when working with allies

North Korea 04:36 January 20, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with additional remarks from Blinken in last 6 paras; REPLACES photo)
By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (Yonhap) -- Secretary of State-designate Antony Blinken on Tuesday vowed efforts to improve U.S. relations with allies, saying the country is "far better positioned" to deal with threats from North Korea and other adversaries when it works with friendly nations.

The former deputy secretary of state made the remarks at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"We can revitalize our core alliances -- force multipliers of our influence around the world," said Blinken.

The captured image from the website of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee shows U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, speaking during his senate confirmation hearing in Washington on Jan. 19, 2021. (Yonhap)

"Together, we are far better positioned to counter threats posed by Russia, Iran and North Korea and to stand up for democracy and human rights," he added.

It marked the first time Blinken has publicly mentioned
North Korea since his nomination in late November by President-elect Joe Biden.

Blinken has largely remained silent even as many North Korea experts pointed to the possibility of a long-range missile test, nuclear test, or other move by Pyongyang in an effort to place itself on the list of priorities for the incoming U.S. administration.

Pyongyang has yet to mount any provocation, and Gen. Robert Abrams, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, said on Jan. 4 that the regime thus far had shown no signs of doing so.

Blinken also highlighted the need to rebuild American leadership in the global setting.

"American leadership still matters. The reality is that the world does not organize itself," he told the Senate committee.

To this end, the secretary of state nominee said the U.S. needs to be humble and confident.

"Humility because we have a great deal of work to do at home to enhance our standing abroad," said Blinken. "But we will also act with confidence that America at its best still has a greater ability than any country on earth to mobilize others for greater good."

He also repeated Biden's promise that the U.S. will lead the world not only by the "example of our power, but the power of our example."

Biden is set to be sworn in as the next U.S. president on Wednesday.


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