Alliance reaffirmedIf North Korea planned to widen the gap between Korea and the United States with the start of a new U.S. administration, it had better give up the idea soon.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who visited Seoul on her first overseas trip since her appointment, sent a clear message.
North Korea’s “Talk with the U.S., isolate the South” plan to exclude South Korea and talk only with the United States is an empty dream.
At the press conference right after Korea-U.S. ministerial talks yesterday, she clearly said, “North Korea cannot gain a different relationship with the United States by rejecting and criticizing South Korea.”
The biggest accomplishment of Clinton’s visit to Korea is that she underlined that Korea and the United States could work together on dealing with North Korea, despite the recent change of U.S. administration.
Clinton and Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan agreed that North Korea’s rejection of talks with South Korea is an act that raises tension and helps to destabilize the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia.
In relation to Pyongyang’s threats of a long-range ballistic missile launch, Clinton insisted the missile launch preparations be stopped, citing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718.
She then stressed, “We ask the North Korean government to stop provocative and unhelpful words and actions.”
Another accomplishment is that Korea and the United States jointly sent a strong warning to Pyongyang about future provocations that threaten regional security.
It is also notable that Clinton and Yu cleared concerns that the United States may have actually acknowledged that North Korea possesses nuclear weapons.
They said it is not acceptable under any circumstances for the North to possess a nuclear arsenal, and confirmed that both countries wanted a complete and verifiable denuclearization rule through the six-party talks.
Along with an existing policy to develop the Korea-U.S. alliance as a global strategic alliance, the two countries resolved to cooperate on global issues such as the financial crisis and climate change.
It’s inevitable at this point that in-depth talks on Afghanistan and the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement are not feasible. It’s now up to working-level diplomats from both countries to look at the details of the various issues now that Clinton has reaffirmed the importance of the Korea-U.S. relationship.