Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today met South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan. Both countries reaffirmed alliance to support regional security and prosperity.
“It is good for me once again to see my friend and colleague, Foreign Minister Kim. I had the privilege of meeting him at his very lovely home in Seoul, and this is our fourth meeting here today in Washington.” -Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton said South Korea will mark its 61st anniversary of the start of the Korean War. Ms. Clinton said for 61 years, their security alliance has supported regional security and prosperity. She said both countries are coordinating to hold another trilateral meeting on the issue later this summer with Foreign Minister Kim and Japanese Foreign Minister Matsumoto.
“Today, we reaffirmed our continued commitment to work side by side to achieve lasting peace on a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. Our position has not changed. While we remain open to direct engagement with North Korea, we remain firm in our resolve and our shared position that Pyongyang must improve its relations with the Republic of Korea.” -Ms. Clinton
She stated that U.S.-South Korea partnership truly has gone global. She said South Korea plans to host the next Nuclear Security Summit in 2012. She noted that both countries spoke about their cooperation in Afghanistan, where Korea has deployed a Provincial Reconstruction Team and is supporting the training of the Afghan security forces.
“Because our relationship, which is essential, is more than just the challenges we face. We have opportunities that we are seizing together.” -Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton said the U.S. government and South Korea are both committed to passing and implementing the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. She said the trade agreement will create tens of thousands of new jobs in both their countries, and it will send a powerful message that the United States and the Republic of Korea are strategic partners for the long term.
She stressed that the United States and Korea are partners in development as well. She added that it has been inspiring to watch Korea’s rise within her own lifetime.
“I have commented on that several – on several occasions, including just yesterday. This was a poor, war-torn country that has risen to become the world’s 12th largest economy and a very vibrant, effective democracy.” -Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton said the United States applauds Korea’s pledge to triple its development budget by 2015 and its leadership in hosting the fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.