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Confirmation hearing held for U.S. Ambassador to South Korea nominee Updated: 2014-06-19 03:37:24 KST

Confirmation hearing held for U.S. Ambassador to South Korea nominee

At a Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea nominee Mark Lippert said the alliance between Washington and Seoul have never been stronger.
He said if confirmed, he will work closely with South Korea to denuclearize North Korea, as it remains a grave threat to the United States and its allies.
Lippert said he will continue to isolate the regime and increase pressure through sanctions.

"The first is continue to build international consensus to isolate North Korea and its regime and perhaps one of the best example would be to isolate them on human rights issue."

Recognizing that the current diplomatic row between South Korea and Japan is a touchy subject, Lippert said he would not act as a mediator, but would encourage dialogue between the two neighbors.

"We wouldn't play a mediation role. We obviously have conversations to encourage better dialogue between the Japanese and South Koreans to work through some of these very difficult and painful historical issues."

Lippert said he will try to boost cooperation among Seoul, Tokyo and Washington by arranging trilateral meetings, like the summit held in the Hague earlier this year.
Lippert, who served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, is arguably one of President Barack Obama's closest aides.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he will replace current ambassador, Sung Kim, in the second half of the year.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.
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