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Assembly speaker discusses S. Korea-US alliance, NK issues with Nancy Pelosi

National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug holds a videoconference with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday. (National Assembly)
National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug holds a videoconference with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday. (National Assembly)
National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug held a videoconference with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday to discuss pending issues such as the South Korea-US alliance and North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

During the meeting Park said that “the Korea-US alliance is a starting point and a crucial point of reference for Korea’s diplomacy and security and, as the US’ most successful alliance, serves as a bedrock for peace and stability in the region.”

He went on to say that “the 70-year-old alliance was the driving force behind Korea’s democratization and industrialization,” expressing the hope that “the two parliaments will work together to contribute to the development of Korea-US relations into a comprehensive strategic alliance.”

Pelosi replied that “the relationship that we have is one of common values.” She also said she was “pleased with Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin’s meeting with the leadership of Korea” on their first overseas visit since the inception of the Biden administration, “as an indication of the importance of the Korea-US relationship.”

Regarding the North Korean nuclear issue, Park referred to what was discussed at the 2+2 meeting in Seoul on Thursday. He said the foreign and defense chiefs of the two countries “emphasized the importance of a complete coordination” between the two allies. Adding that he was “neither optimistic nor pessimistic,” he said “we need to see the reality as it is, establish a practical strategy and pursue diplomatic engagement.”

Since the North Korean nuclear issue can “determine the fate of 80 million people on the Korean Peninsula,” he believes that “dialogue and diplomacy is the only and most effective way to find a solution.” As for more specific steps, he reiterated the need for a “comprehensive deal, a gradual approach and an action-for-action process.”

Pelosi made the point that “as we deal with the situation in North Korea, it is important for us to respect the point of view of the Republic of Korea in those discussions and look to you for guidance.”

The talks began at 6:30 a.m. local time and lasted 45 minutes.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)

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