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Korea, U.S. to adopt statement on N.K.

WASHINGTON -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her U.S. counterpart Barack Obama on Friday will adopt a joint statement on North Korea by renewing their strategic alliance to effectively contain its nuclear ambitions and provocations, Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday.

During a summit at the White House, the highlight of Park’s four-day trip to Washington, the two leaders are also expected to reaffirm their bilateral partnership and agree to upgrade their ties for shared economic prosperity and regional peace. Joint efforts to urge North Korea to return to long-stalled six-party talks would also be taken.

President Park Geun-hye (Yonhap)
President Park Geun-hye (Yonhap)

The separate joint statement on North Korea is being adopted for the first time, the presidential office said. A joint fact sheet will also be released, redirecting the scope of bilateral cooperation into new fields of interests, such as space and cybersecurity.

The statement will be released at a joint news conference after their summit in Obama’s office, the Oval Office, and official lunch in the Cabinet Room.

Through the agreement with Obama, Park is expected to gain fresh momentum to push her North Korean agenda at a time when the two Koreas have revived high-level talks and are readying to hold a reunion of separated families next week. China addressing its concerns on North Korea’s provocations in last month’s summit with Obama was also seen to instill confidence in South Korea’s drive to bring Pyongyang back to the negotiation table.

Also, the summit is seen as a watershed moment for Park and her diplomacy as she strived to reaffirm the U.S. alliance and dispel pervasive speculation that Seoul is inclining toward Beijing.

Throughout her trip, Park has been hailing the alliance with the U.S., stressing their “dynamic and strong partnership” has evolved to a higher level and would remain unshaken in the future. She returns Sunday.

During her hour-and-a-half meeting with Obama, Park is expected to demonstrate her efforts to bolster regional cooperation in Northeast Asia by hosting a trilateral summit with Japan and China in November, and a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the talks -- a development that Washington has encouraged. Park is also likely to hold a separate summit with Chinese Premier Li Kechang, also on the sidelines of the trilateral meeting.

On the previous day, Park sat down with Vice President Joe Biden at his residence for a luncheon.

“The two discussed the importance of strong regional relations and close coordination on common strategic interests,” the White House said after the meeting.

It also said Biden praised Park for her efforts to improve inter-Korean ties and reaffirmed unwavering U.S. commitment to deter and defend against North Korean provocations.

Park was the first Asian leader invited to the vice president’s residence since the Obama administration was launched in 2009, Cheong Wa Dae said in a briefing, adding that the luncheon was an expression of the special alliance between the two countries.

Appealing for her vision of a unified Korea to opinion leaders in the U.S., Park stressed the alliance is crucial for pressing North Korea to drop its nuclear aspirations.

“I believe the Korea-U.S. alliance must exert our leadership in inducing North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, open up to the world and undertake internal reforms,” Park said in a speech at Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“A unified Korea will be a generator of peace. No longer will nuclear weapons and long-range missiles target our neighbors.”

By Cho Chung-un, Korea Herald correspondent (
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