The Korea Herald


Moon holds telephone talks with French leader, expresses hope for further partnership

By Jo He-rim

Published : May 29, 2017 - 20:52

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South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in had his first phone talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday and expressed hope that the two countries will be able to develop their strategic partnership by holding meetings of diplomatic and defense ministers on a regular basis, Seoul’s presidential office said.

“I agree that there is a need to strengthen sectorial cooperation at the ministerial level between the two countries,” Moon was quoted by Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Soo-hyun as saying in the phone call.

Moon Jae-in (Yonhap) Moon Jae-in (Yonhap)

Moon was responding to Macron’s offer to hold the second strategic meeting of foreign ministers in Paris following the first meeting in Seoul last year.

During the 20-minute phone call that began at 5:15 p.m., Moon appreciated France’s full support for Seoul’s position on the North Korea nuclear issue.

He said his government intends to achieve the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula earlier than expected in a phased and comprehensive approach by pursuing sanctions against and dialogue with the North at the same time.

Moon has called for more a conciliatory approach toward Pyongyang by resuming humanitarian assistance since he took office on May 10.

“We expect France would render much help in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue based on its experience of playing a very important role in the Iranian nuclear deal.”

On Macron’s request to send a special envoy to France, Moon said, “I will send the foreign minister as a special envoy when the organization of the government finishes.”

Macron invited Moon to visit Paris for their first face-to-face talks in July on the sidelines of a summit of the Group of 20 major economies in Germany. Moon accepted Macron’s invitation to visit at an “early date.” No specific timing was set, however.

Moon congratulated Macron on his landslide election victory, to which the latter responded: “Election victories of President Moon and mine are like twins.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing you at the G20 summit,” Macron said. “I had a very long dialogue about North Korea with the US President Donald Trump where we shared our concerns about the North’s development of a missile that can carry a nuclear warhead and confirmed our commitment to tackle the issue.”

He said France continuously supports South Korea’s position on the issue and is willing to share its useful diplomatic and military information on the matter with the country. (Yonhap)