By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, June 1 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called on NATO members to deepen their cooperation with South Korea, the State Department said Tuesday, amid U.S. efforts to enhance cooperation between U.S. allies.
"Secretary Blinken underscored the importance of Alliance partnerships, including NATO-EU cooperation, and encouraged NATO to deepen its cooperation with Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea," the department said, referring to South Korea by its official name.
Blinken's call came in a virtual meeting with other foreign ministers of NATO member countries, according to the department.
The Joe Biden administration has repeatedly emphasized the importance of U.S. allies in its growing competition with China, calling them an "asymmetrical" capability or asset that the rivaling China and Russia do not have, and stressing the importance of not only the U.S. working with its allies but U.S. allies working closely among themselves.
The U.S. has also been increasingly calling on South Korea and Japan to work closely together amid soured relationship between its two key Asian allies over their longstanding history issues.
"We underscore the fundamental importance of U.S.-ROK-Japan trilateral cooperation for addressing the DPRK, protecting our shared security and prosperity, upholding common values, and bolstering the rules-based order," Biden and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, said in a joint statement issued after their bilateral summit here on May 21.
DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.
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