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Lee expresses hope to develop alliance with U.S. into 'global partnership'

All News 15:46 November 11, 2021

SEOUL, Nov. 11 (Yonhap) -- Ruling party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung met with the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia on Thursday and expressed his hope to develop the alliance between the two countries into a global partnership.

Lee and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink held talks at the Democratic Party's headquarters as part of the U.S. official's three-day visit to Seoul.

Kritenbrink is also reportedly planning a meeting with the main opposition presidential candidate Yoon Seok-youl of the People Power Party later this week as Washington seeks to build relations with Seoul's next potential leaders ahead of the March 9 presidential election.

Lee Jae-myung, the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party (R), meets with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink at the party's headquarters in Seoul on Nov. 11, 2021. (Yonhap)

"I hope the South Korea-U.S. alliance will continue to grow and develop into an economic alliance and a global partnership," Lee said at the meeting.

Thanking the U.S. government for its past economic and military assistance, Lee said it is "meaningful" South Korea's democracy and economy have risen to a globally recognized level through its decadeslong alliance with the U.S.

"The issue of peace on the Korean Peninsula is an important matter that the many people living on the Korean Peninsula stake their survival on," he continued. "I understand the United States also has very important interests in Northeast Asian issues."

Kritenbrink, who is on his first visit to Seoul since taking office in September, said his sole purpose is to demonstrate how much importance Washington places on the region.

He also said Washington has faith in the strong bilateral alliance and will continue to support Seoul's growth into a global partner.

The assistant secretary was accompanied at the meeting by Christopher Del Corso, charge d'affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.

Lee is scheduled to meet with Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming later Thursday and with visiting U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) on Friday.

hague@yna.co.kr
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