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(LEAD) FM nominee vows to seek early N.K. dialogue resumption under 'coordinated' strategy with U.S.

All News 11:40 February 05, 2021

(ATTN: ADDS Chung's remarks on Japan in last 2 paras)

SEOUL, Feb. 5 (Yonhap) -- Foreign minister nominee Chung Eui-yong pledged Friday to seek substantive progress in stalled denuclearization efforts through an early resumption of dialogue with North Korea under a "coordinated" strategy with the United States.

During a parliamentary confirmation hearing, Chung, a former top security adviser to President Moon Jae-in, also said that he would push to solidify and broaden the South Korea-U.S. alliance by pushing for early high-level exchanges with the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden.

"Based on a strategy coordinated with the newly launched U.S. administration, I will focus diplomatic efforts on laying the groundwork for substantive progress in denuclearization efforts through an early resumption of dialogue between North Korea and the United States," the nominee said in his opening remarks.

"I will push for peace diplomacy for the resolution of the Korean Peninsula issues based on three principles of no war, mutual security guarantees and co-prosperity," he added.

Foreign minister nominee Chung Eui-yong speaks during a confirmation hearing at the National Assembly in Seoul on Feb. 5, 2021. (Yonhap)

His remarks came a day after Moon and Biden spoke by phone for the first time since the latter's inauguration on Jan. 20 and agreed to craft a joint "comprehensive strategy" for handling the North Korea issue.

Highlighting the importance of the partnership with Washington, Chung stressed the bilateral alliance as a foundation for South Korea's diplomacy and security and pledged to develop it into a "more sound, mutually beneficial and comprehensive" alliance.

"I will seek to build trust and policy consensus with the Biden administration by pushing for early summit and high-level exchanges, pursue reasonable solutions to pending alliance issues, strengthen global partnerships on public health, security and climate change and thus further solidify the alliance and broaden its horizons for cooperation," he said.

The nominee, who has been credited with guiding Moon's engagement policy toward the North, said that he would push for Pyongyang's participation in a Seoul-led initiative for regional cooperation on battling pandemics and other public health crises.

"I will strengthen the efforts to encourage North Korea to participate in the Northeast Asia forum on health security. I will seek to establish a community foundation for peace, security and life at a Northeast Asian level," he said.

On Japan, Chung cast the country as a "close neighbor and partner for cooperation in promoting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia" amid a protracted row between Seoul and Tokyo over wartime history and trade.

"Though there are various pending issues between the two countries, I will make possible efforts to enable the resumption of constructive, future-oriented cooperation while looking for wisdom toward resolution of the issues through diplomatic dialogue and communication," he said.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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