New U.S. Envoy to Woo Young Koreans

    September 23, 2005 20:58

    The U.S. ambassador designate to Korea, Alexander Vershbow, said Thursday he would target young Koreans in efforts to promote America. Vershbow told a Senate confirmation hearing he often met with young people and civic groups and traveled to all parts of the country as ambassador to Russia, and vowed to do the same in Korea.

    He promised to continue the Internet club site opened by his predecessor, Christopher Hill, saying he would use all means including the Internet to help young Koreans “understand the United States and U.S. policies” and stress the bilateral security and economic relationship and shared values.

    Before the hearing, Vershbow said he would be the first U.S. ambassador to Korea who played in a rock band. Having played drums since his student days at Yale, the ambassador-designate plans to perform in a band of diplomats and other officials in Ohio on Sept. 28 to raise money for victims of hurricane Katrina. His favorite song is the Beatles’ “Back in the USSR,” he said. His wife Lisa, who attended the hearing, said her husband liked to sing in karaoke clubs as well.

    Vershbow said his major missions would be to strengthen the Korea-U.S. alliance in line with the changing environment in Northeast Asia, and promote the activities of U.S. firms in Korea, including a restart of imports of American beef. He also promised to work with the South Korean government so a just-concluded six-party agreement on North Korea’s nuclear program is effectively implemented, allowing him to promote reform in North Korea and the improvement of its human rights situation.

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