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(3rd LD) U.S-S. Korea alliance continues to be strong: Lippert

2016/12/09 20:06

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead throughout with Mark Lippert's remarks)

SEOUL, Dec. 9 (Yonhap) -- The U.S.' top envoy in South Korea reaffirmed on Friday that the alliance between the two countries continues to be "strong" and he expects "policy consistency" on North Korea and other issues, regardless of the impeachment of the president.

The remark by Ambassador Mark Lippert was made following a meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in central Seoul.

"The alliance is strong and it will continue to be strong. We expect policy consistency, continuity across a range of fronts including DPRK, other regional issues and international economics and trade," he told reporters. "We will continue to work closely with the government."

   The DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's official name -- the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

His visit to the ministry came after South Korea's 300-seat National Assembly voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye for her alleged involvement in a corruption and influence-peddling scandal. The Constitutional Court has up to 180 days to review the decision, during which she will be suspended from her official duties.

"The decision is a domestic issue that is ultimately up to the Korean people and their democratic institution," he emphasized.

Along with him, the top envoys from Japan, China and Russia were also invited for separate meetings with senior foreign ministry officials. It was seen as part of efforts to soothe concerns over possible policy adjustment down the road.

The government ministries and agencies were quick to assure other countries that there will be no marked change in policy.

In a telegram sent to the country's embassies and consulates worldwide, Foreign Minister Yun ordered them to reassure their host countries that the Seoul government maintains its diplomatic policy line, while asking them to keep working to improve bilateral relations, according to his office.

The Ministry of Unification also pledged that Seoul's current North Korea policy line focused on sanctions and pressure will stay put regardless of the impeachment.

"The government will continue with its North Korea policy stance, including a push to work toward a peaceful unification, and deal with pending issues accordingly," a ministry official said.

"The government will pay close attention to North Korea's attitude and maintain all-out readiness in tight collaboration with other ministries," according to the ministry's press release.

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