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Foreign Minster nominee, US envoy agree on ‘impenetrable’ cooperation

By Jo He-rim

Published : April 20, 2022 - 15:18

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Foreign Minister nominee Rep. Park Jin of the People Power Party (right) and Sung Kim, US special representative for North Korea, meet at Park’s office set up for the parliamentary confirmation hearing in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap) Foreign Minister nominee Rep. Park Jin of the People Power Party (right) and Sung Kim, US special representative for North Korea, meet at Park’s office set up for the parliamentary confirmation hearing in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

South Korea’s Foreign Minister nominee Rep. Park Jin of the People Power Party met Wednesday with Sung Kim, US Special Representative for North Korea, and agreed to maintain an “impenetrable alliance” when the incoming government takes over.

In their closed-door meeting, the minister nominee stressed how the series of missile launches by North Korea posed a “serious threat” not only to the Korean people but also to peace and stability of Northeast Asia and the international society, and underscored the importance of close cooperation between Seoul and Washington, according to Park’s office.

Kim explained how the US government has high expectations of building close cooperation with the incoming Yoon Suk-yeol administration, and also highlighted that maintaining an impenetrable alliance with Seoul would be its upmost priority as tension runs high on the Korean Peninsula, Park’s office said.

The US special representative arrived in Seoul on Monday for a five-day trip to discuss the situation on the Korean Peninsula and on North Korea’s missile tests. He met with authorities of the incumbent government, including Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and Unification Minister Lee In-young.

On Tuesday, Kim also had a dinner meeting with President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol. Rep. Chung Jin-suk of the People Power Party, who is Kim’s childhood friend, arranged the meeting at his house.

The US special representative is also expected to meet with the Unification Minister nominee Rep. Kwon Young-se, and also Kim Sung-han, the chief of the subcommittee for foreign affairs and national security at the presidential transition team, on Thursday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Foreign Minister nominee Park said it was most important to maintain deterrence against the North’s missile provocations, and that additional sanctions that are being discussed at the UN Security Council could be a method.

“(The North’s nuclear test) a problem of only the Korean Peninsula, the US and Japan, but poses threat to the international society. So we anticipate the UNSC to handle the issue actively,” Park told reporters, adding that South Korea should also persuade China and Russia to help pass related resolutions.

Park explained that he suggested holding a US-Korea Foreign Defense Ministers’ meeting within this year during his trip to Washington early this month, and also to revive the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group.

The EDSCG, first established in 2016, served as the channel for the two allies to discuss strategic and policy stances on extended deterrence against North Korea. Reactivating the EDSCG with the US was one of Yoon’s election pledges.

Earlier this month, Park traveled to the US, leading President-elect Yoon’s policy consultation delegation to coordinate policies of the incoming government on current affairs and North Korea.

Park said Yoon’s office was also considering sending a policy consultation delegation to China, if the COVID-19 lockdown situation is relieved there.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)