UPDATE : 2019.4.24 WED 15:24
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Former Exxon Mobil CEO tapped as new US secretary of stateApproved by the Senate despite report that he is too close to Russia

The U.S. Senate approved former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state on Wednesday despite concerns that he is too close to Russia and lacks government or diplomacy experience.

Tillerson's nomination passed the Senate in a 56-43 vote.

That compares with the overwhelming 98-1 approval of retired Marine Corps Gen. Jim Mattis as defense secretary.

One of the biggest concerns about Tillerson was his ties to Russia.

Tillerson, who joined Exxon straight from college as a production engineer in 1975 and rose to its helm in 2006, has concluded major deals with the Russian state-run corporation Rosneft and developed a personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He received Russia's Order of Friendship from Putin in 2013.

Tillerson is expected to sharply increase pressure on China to use more of its leverage on North Korea.

During his confirmation hearing last month, Tillerson strongly criticized Beijing for making "empty promises" to put pressure on North Korea, and vowed to consider "actions" to get Beijing to fully enforce sanctions on Pyongyang.

He also blamed the insufficient enforcement of sanctions as a main problem in dealing with the North.

Tillerson said he will further strengthen the alliances with South Korea and Japan, but said that allies should also "meet their obligations" in an apparent reference to President Donald Trump's call for allies to pay more for American troops stationed in those countries to help defend them. (Yonhap)

Consumer prices growth hits over 4-yr high in Jan.

South Korea's consumer prices rose at the fastest clip in more than four years in January on a sharp rise in food prices, government data showed Thursday.

The country's consumer price index gained 2 percent last month from a year earlier, accelerating from the previous month's 1.3 percent rise, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

The January figure marked the highest on-year gain since October 2012.

From a month earlier, the index also edged up 0.9 percent in January.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile oil and food prices, increased 1.7 percent compared with last year. (Yonhap)

Park Jae-yeon  edt@koeapost.com

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