The Korea Herald


S. Korea to closely work with US to peacefully resolve NK issues: new envoy to US

By Jung Min-kyung

Published : Oct. 26, 2017 - 17:57

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South Korea will closely cooperate with the United States to bring about a peaceful resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue, South Korea’s new ambassador to the US said Thursday. He said it is crucial to find out North Korea’s true intention behind its moves and pointed to bilateral cooperation as key to the task. 

Ambassador to the US Cho Yoon-je (left) and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (right). (Yonhap) Ambassador to the US Cho Yoon-je (left) and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (right). (Yonhap)

“Currently, we are in the process of seeking ways to solve the issue, as no one has a clear solution in mind,” Ambassador Cho Yoon-je told reporters, a day before embarking on his scheduled visit to the US. “What is important is to figure out what North Korea truly wants, and close cooperation between South Korea and the US is crucial in the process.”

Cho added that the goal of strong pressure and sanctions against the rogue nation is to bring Pyongyang to dialogue. The United Nations Security Council slapped a fresh set of sanctions against the North after it conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test in September.

While in the US, Cho will make preparations for US President Donald Trump’s state visit to South Korea next month, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

On Trump’s upcoming visit to the demilitarized zone near the inter-Korean border, the envoy said it has yet to be decided, but he expects the announcement to come soon. Trump told a group of reporters at the White House on Thursday that he’d “rather not say,” on the matter, but also hinted a surprise could come.

“As the situation is serious at the moment, we hope (President Trump’s visit here) will become an opportunity to solidify the S. Korea-US alliance, reaffirm the mutual defense treaty and combined defense system and closely cooperate on North Korea issues,” Cho said.

Meanwhile, Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday that it has requested Trump visit the newly expanded Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, situated some 70 kilometers south of Seoul. The base serves as the headquarters of the US 8th Army, the backbone of US Forces Korea. White House officials say Trump’s visit will highlight the alliance between the two nations.

Prior to Trump’s visit, US Defense Secretary James Mattis is to meet with his South Korean counterpart Song Young-moo at the 49th Security Consultative Meeting on Saturday.

The US top defense official plans to visit the DMZ with Song and address the situation surrounding North Korea‘s ongoing provocations.

Mattis on Wednesday said the allies’ top priority is to resolve the North Korea issue diplomatically and peacefully.

“Everyone is out for a peaceful resolution. No one‘s rushing for war,” he said.

The visits from Washington come amid escalating military tensions on the Korean Peninsula on the back of North Korea’s latest nuclear and missile tests.

Trump and Pyongyang exchanged a series of bellicose rhetoric where Pyongyang said it plans to drop a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.

The Korean War was ended in 1953 through an armistice, meaning the allies and the North remain technically at war.

By Jung Min-kyung (