Seoul: Republic of Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chung has stated on Wednesday that, the Korea-U.S. Alliance is the backbone of our diplomacy as well as the linchpin of peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia and across the world.
We see the continued development of the Korea-U.S. Alliance as the most important task of our diplomacy, he said.
In this regard, we would like to extend our special welcome to the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense of the Biden-Harris Administration who are visiting Korea in the very beginning of their terms in office. It clearly shows the new U.S. administration’s emphasis on its allies, the foreign minister stated.
In particular, the fact that we concluded negotiations for the Special Measures Agreement (SMA), which was a long-pending issue, just before the visit by Secretary Blinken reaffirms the strength of the Korea-U.S. Alliance, he added.
Furthermore, he also stated that President Moon Jae-in also appreciates the direction of Korea-U.S. relations since the inauguration of the Biden-Harris Administration. Particularly, the President highly appreciates that we are holding the ROK-U.S. Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting for the first time in five years.
During his phone conversation with President Biden last February, President Moon mentioned that Korea has full trust in the leadership of America, and as an ally that shares values, we will actively cooperate not only on Korean Peninsula and regional issues but also on global affairs, Foreign minister said.
On the other hand, U.S Secretary of State Blinken expressed displeasure upon the violent incident in Atlanta saying that the attacks that happened just a few hours ago in Atlanta, in which several women were killed, including, we believe, four women of Korean descent.
We’re horrified by this violence, which has no place in America or anywhere, for that matter. And I want to offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who died and to everyone in the Korean community who is shaken and deeply disturbed by this incident, Blinken stated.
He further remarked that Secretary of Defense Austin and Blinken will attend the tomorrow for the 2+2 ministerial meeting with you and with minister of defense and to witness the initialing of the SMA.
Regarding U.S-ROK alliance he stated that the alliance is unwavering, it’s ironclad, and it’s rooted in friendship, in mutual trust, and in shared values.
He further mentioned that Secretary Austin and I are here to reaffirm the United States commitment to the alliance but also to build on it with you.
We want to achieve our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, anchored by respect for human rights, for democracy, for the rule of law, he said.
Secretary of State commented that U.S-ROK will work together to address what are daunting challenges that we both face, including, of course, a pandemic that has affected literally billions of people and devastated economies; warming temperatures and rising seas; more sophisticated and harmful cyber attacks.
Blinken also emphasized that we’re committed to deepening our cooperation across the board, whether it’s stopping COVID-19 and preventing future pandemics, investing in clean energy transformation, shoring up our cyber capability, readiness and resilience.
Another shared challenge, is North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program, which are a threat to the region and to the world. We’ll continue to work together with the ROK and other allies and partners, including Japan, toward denuclearization of the DPRK, he added.
It’s critical that we stand up for these values, especially now, because we are witnessing a dangerous erosion of democracy around the world, including in this region, he said.
Moreover, regarding Burma he added that in Burma, the military is attempting to overturn the results of a democratic election, brutally repressing peaceful protesters, gunning down youth who are simply demanding a say in their country’s future.
China is using coercion and aggression to systematically erode autonomy in Hong Kong, undercut democracy in Taiwan, abuse human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet, and assert maritime claims in the South China Sea that violate international law, he added.
The authoritarian regime in North Korea continues to commit systemic and widespread abuses against its own people. We must stand with people demanding their fundamental rights and freedoms and against those who repress them, Blinken said.
For decades, the alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States has ensured the security and well-being of our people, and I think it’s our job not only to maintain our alliance, but to strengthen it so it can continue to provide that foundation for years indeed, for decades to come, Secretary of State Blinken commented.