Park Geun-hye talks NK nukes with US delegation

Posted on : 2013-01-17 15:25 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
President-elect apparently sticking to tough line on North Korea’s nuclear program
 US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs at her office in the Tongui neighborhood in Seoul. (photo pool)
US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs at her office in the Tongui neighborhood in Seoul. (photo pool)

By Song Chae Kyung-hwa and Park Byong-su, staff reporters

On Jan. 16, Korean president-elect Park Geun-hye met with a US government delegation that included Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs. “We cannot allow the North to develop nuclear weapons. We will respond with resolute action,” said Park during the meeting.

Park met the delegation at her office in the Tongui neighborhood in Seoul. “While we cannot allow the North to develop nuclear weapons and we will respond with resolute action, it is also necessary for us to bear in mind the quality of life in the North. This is why we must keep open the possibility of dialogue, including humanitarian aid,” Park said, according to her spokesperson Cho Yoon-sun.

“We will work together closely with the US in the process of building trust on the Korean peninsula.”

“I am looking forward to seeing continued development of the cooperative relationship between the US and South Korea on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the alliance between the two countries,” Park said. “In order to help the US-Korea alliance develop into an comprehensive strategic alliance for the 21st century, I believe that we must forge a new cooperative relationship built on steadfast trust.”

“As I see it, the freedom and economic development that we enjoy today are not gifts, but rather the result of the US and Korea working together to face challenges and overcome difficulties,” Park said in a positive assessment of relations with the US.

Accompanying Campbell at the meeting were Daniel Russel, senior director for Asian affairs on the National Security Council, and Mark Lippert, assistant secretary of defense for Asia and the Pacific with the US Department of Defense.

Park also referred to revising the US-Korean nuclear energy agreement. South Korea is currently at odds with the US over how to dispose of spent nuclear fuel.

“One of Park’s campaign pledges was to secure a reliable supply of energy and method for dealing with nuclear waste,” Cho said. “Considering this, and the fact that these issues are so urgent [for South Koreans], Park told the US envoys that she hopes the US will provide us with helpful ideas about, and be willing to discuss, how to resolve this issue in a way that the international community can trust.”

The day before, on Jan. 13, Campbell’s delegation sat down with Minister of Defense Kim Kwan-jin, and on the morning of Jan. 14 they held a meeting with officials including Minister of Unification Ryu Woo-ik, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Kyu-hyun and Senior Secretary to the President for Foreign Affairs and National Security Chun Young-woo.

After the meeting was over, Campbell held a press conference. On the question of UN Security Council sanctions for North Korea’s long-range missile launch, he said, “We are currently discussing the matter with key countries such as China and Russia. We should be seeing some progress soon.”


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