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US looks forward to continued cooperation with S. Korea under Yoon: State Dept.

President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol speaks during a disbandment ceremony for his transition team in Seoul last Friday. (Yonhap)
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol speaks during a disbandment ceremony for his transition team in Seoul last Friday. (Yonhap)

WASHINGTON -- The United States looks forward to continuing to work with South Korea under President Yoon Suk-yeol in tackling various challenges facing the US-South Korea alliance, a state department spokesperson said Monday.

"The US-ROK alliance is the linchpin of peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and we look forward to continuing US-ROK cooperation in tackling the most pressing global challenges," the spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency, asking not to be identified.

ROK stands for the Republic of Korea, South Korea's official name.

The remarks come as Yoon is set to be inaugurated on Tuesday (Seoul time), in a ceremony that will also be attended by Douglas Emhoff, husband of US Vice President Kamala Harris.

The US second gentleman is heading an eight-member delegation that also includes Labor Secretary Martin Walsh, Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) and Rep. Marilyn Strickland (D-WA).

Ned Price, state department press secretary, said the US-South Korea alliance has remained strong regardless of who their leaders were.

"There is an enduring quality to our alliance with the Republic of Korea, and it's enduring in the sense that it is an alliance that is built on shared interests and shared values. It is not predicated on who's in office at any given time," he said in a daily press briefing.

Price added the US is very confident "that our alliance with the ROK will endure, and that together we will be able to pursue our interests and to protect our values."

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby also said the defense department looks forward to working with the new South Korean administration.

"South Korea remains a key ally. We are always going to look for ways to make the alliance better and more capable," he said in a separate press briefing held at the Department of Defense.

Yoon began his five-year term at the start of Tuesday with a briefing from the Joint Chiefs of Staff at an underground bunker at his new presidential office building in Yongsan, Seoul.

His inauguration ceremony is set to be held at 11 a.m. (Seoul time) at the National Assembly Plaza. (Yonhap)

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