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(2nd LD) Chung, Blinken agree on close cooperation for peninsula denuclearization, peace

Diplomacy 21:50 May 03, 2021

(ATTN: CHANGES dateline; UPDATES with reports of readout of meeting from U.S. Department of State in paras 6-9)
By Song Sang-ho and Byun Duk-kun

SEOUL/WASHINGTON, May 3 (Yonhap) -- Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and his U.S. counterpart, Antony Blinken, agreed Monday to continue close cooperation for complete denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, the foreign ministry said.

The agreement came as they met bilaterally on the margins of a gathering of G7 foreign and development ministers in London, after the Joe Biden administration completed its review of policy toward Pyongyang.

"Secretary Blinken shared the results of the U.S.' review of policy on the North, and Minister Chung welcomed the fact that the result of the review was decided in a realistic, practical direction," the ministry said in a press release.

"The minister and secretary agreed to continue close cooperation for the complete denuclearization and the establishment of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula," it added.

Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong (R) and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hold talks on the sidelines of a Group of Seven ministerial meeting in London in this combined photo on May 3, 2021. (Yonhap)

The meeting came after the White House said Friday that Washington had completed the policy review, and that it will seek a "calibrated, practical" approach toward the goal of the complete denuclearization of the peninsula.

The U.S. State Department said the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to working together to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

"Secretary Blinken and Minister Chung stressed their commitment to work together to protect and advance shared security goals, including U.S.-Japan-ROK trilateral cooperation toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," department spokesman Ned Price said in a press release. ROK stands for the Republic of Korea, South Korea's official name.

Blinken and Chung also highlighted the importance of the South Korea-U.S. alliance in tackling regional and global challenges.

They reaffirmed that the "U.S.-ROK Alliance is the linchpin of peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and the world," Price said. "The Secretary and the Foreign Minister highlighted the importance of U.S.-Republic of Korea cooperation to address the global threats of COVID-19 and the climate crisis."

At the talks, the two sides also agreed to closely cooperate to ensure that the summit between Presidents Moon Jae-in and Biden, slated to take place in Washington on May 21, will proceed successfully.

Blinken said that Biden is looking forward to meeting with Moon and that the planned in-person summit early in his term and in the midst of the pandemic highlights that Washington greatly values the South Korea-U.S. alliance, according to the ministry.

Chung and Blinken also agreed to strengthen cooperation in efforts to find common ground between their governments' regional policies -- the New Southern Policy and the Indo-Pacific initiative -- and collaboration over access to COVID-19 vaccines, climate change and other issues.

Though not party to the G7 grouping, South Korea, Australia, India, South Africa and Brunei, the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, have been invited to the forum as guests.

Also on the sidelines of the multilateral forum, Chung, Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi are expected to hold a trilateral session. If realized, the meeting will mark the first talks between Chung and Motegi.


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