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    Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil, smiles during his testimony before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be U.S. secretary of state in Washington, U.S. January 11, 2017

    S Korea Welcomes Tillerson as US State Secretary - Foreign Ministry

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    South Korea welcomes the confirmation of Rex Tillerson as the new US Secretary of State, the South Korean Foreign Ministry's spokesman said Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Seoul welcomes the confirmation of Rex Tillerson as the new US Secretary of State, and looks forward to the development of bilateral relations, the South Korean Foreign Ministry's spokesman said Thursday.

    "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson finished the confirmation by Congress and officially took office earlier. The (South Korean) government welcomes the move. As Tillerson has a deep understanding of and interests in Korean Peninsula issues, his inauguration is expected to bring the South Korea-U.S. ties one step closer" Cho June-hyuck said is quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency.

    Cho added that Seoul plans to have close communications with the top US diplomat on "key issues of interest."

    During his confirmation hearings in January, Tillerson promised to continue US sanctions against North Korea in an effort to put pressure on the nation’s nuclear program. Tillerson also vowed to put an end to Beijing’s "empty promises" to place sanctions on Pyongyang.

    The situation on the Korean peninsula has become increasingly heated over recent months, with North Korea escalating its ballistic missile and nuclear tests.

    On September 9, North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test in violation of international law. The international community condemned the nuclear test, and imposed harsh sanctions on Pyongyang following an earlier test in January.

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    confirmation, hearings, secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, United States, South Korea
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