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Seoul not considering Beijing Olympics boycott: Moon

Moon says China’s efforts are need to resume dialogue with North

President Moon Jae-in, who is on a state visit to Australia, answers questions at a press conference for the leaders of South Korea-Australia held at the Supreme Council room in Canberra’s National Assembly building on Monday. (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in, who is on a state visit to Australia, answers questions at a press conference for the leaders of South Korea-Australia held at the Supreme Council room in Canberra’s National Assembly building on Monday. (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in said during a state visit to Australia Monday that the Korean government is not considering a diplomatic boycott of next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics in a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

When a reporter asked whether Moon’s visit to Australia could give China a bad signal while Australia is in conflict with China and has announced a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics, Moon said, “We have not received any recommendations to participate in (the boycott) from any country, including the US, and the Korean government is not considering it.”

Moon added, “The issue of the AUKUS (UK-Australia-US tripartite partnership) is a matter for Australia to decide independently as a sovereign country, and South Korea respects the decision.”

The UK and Australia joined the US diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics last week.

He said Australia was striving for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and does not want regional conflicts and disputes. “For regional peace, Korea will work closely with Australia. The state visit to Australia has nothing to do with (Korea’s) position on China.”

“South Korea regards the alliance with the US as the cornerstone of diplomacy and security, but economically, relations with China are also very important,” Moon said. “China’s constructive efforts are required for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the denuclearization of North Korea.”

Korea is trying to maintain a harmonious relationship with China while building on a solid alliance with the US, he added.

In response to a question related to the declaration of the end of the war with North Korea, Moon said, “The relevant countries, the US, China and North Korea, all expressed their support in principle.”

“However, since North Korea is demanding that the US withdraw its hostile policy against the North as a prerequisite, dialogue has not yet begun.” He added, “We will make efforts to resume dialogue between the two Koreas and between the US and the North as soon as possible.”

President Moon declined to comment in detail on the plan to push for an end-of-war declaration at a time when the Joe Biden administration imposed its first sanctions on North Korea.

“In order for the end-of-war declaration to be made, a consensus among related countries must be reached,” he said, adding consensus should also be made for what processes must be made to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and establish a peace system on the Korean Peninsula after the end-of-war declaration.

“It must be a difficult task that many have sought to progress before and have been disappointed,” said Morrison.

“But this is why I admire President Moon’s commitment to this that he keeps pressing forward. He keeps seeking to find the way. And I think that speaks much to his passion for this goal, and we will continue to support those efforts wherever we can.”

“Our objective remains the same. (It is) to ensure that there can be a process that ultimately can see these issues resolved,” he said. “But that resolution can’t come at the cost of unacceptable compromises. It must come in a way that actually enhances stability that enhances freedom not seeks to lock in negative consequences.”

Marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations, the two nations also declared their ties elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

The two governments signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the defense industry and defense products and agreed to export Korea’s K-9 self-propelled howitzer to Australia.

Moon said, “We will strengthen strategic defense cooperation with Australia by signaling the K-9 self-propelled howitzer project signed today,” adding, “We will expand security cooperation, including defense, defense and cyber sectors.”

They also signed agreements aimed at strengthening cooperation in the hydrogen economy, core mineral supply chains and carbon-neutral technologies.

“We will expand the horizon of cooperation to eco-friendly core technologies such as the hydrogen economy, solar power and carbon capture devices and make carbon neutrality an opportunity to create new industries and jobs,” Moon said.



By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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