Remarks to Press at Incheon International Airport

Kurt M. Campbell
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Daniel Russel, National Security Council Senior Director for Asian Affairs, and Mark Lippert, Assistant Secretary of Defense
Incheon, South Korea
January 15, 2013

The video is available with closed captioning on YouTube.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Good afternoon, everyone. It is wonderful to be back in Korea. We are part of an interagency team: from the White House, Mr. Russell; from the State Department, myself, I am Kurt Campbell; and also Assistant Secretary Mark Lippert from the Department of Defense.

We are here to reaffirm our strong relationship between the United States and South Korea, for regular consultations with our counterparts, to explore our common goals and ambitions in the Asia-Pacific region, to review recent developments, and obviously after the re-election of President Obama and your election, to meet the incoming new team and to underscore the importance of our relationship moving forward. We will have more to say during the course of this trip but I just want to underscore very directly how great it is to be back and how much we look forward to maintaining the strongest possible relationship between our two countries after the important political steps both in Seoul and Washington.

Mr. Russel?

SENIOR DIRECTOR RUSSEL: Hi, I am Danny Russel from the National Security Council at the White House. President Obama places great importance on America’s relationship with the Republic of Korea, both as a strategic partner, as an economic partner and also as a good friend, and so he has asked us to come to bring his warm greetings to President-elect Park and to consult closely both with the transition team and the current government on a range of issues, and to bring back to him the views held here in Seoul, which are important to us in making decisions and addressing the range of challenges that we are dealing with together, regionally and globally. Thank you.


ASSISTANT SECRETARY LIPPERT: I am Mark Lippert, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia-Pacific Security Affairs. I do not have much to add to what Assistant Secretary Campbell and Mr. Russel just said, other than to say that we have had a very strong few years on the defense side of the relationship. We had a very successful MCM and SCM this year. We look forward to even more progress in the coming months, senior-level engagements in order to strengthen and modernize the alliance on the eve of the 60th anniversary. Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Right. We can take a couple of very quick questions.

QUESTION: What is the critical problem in ocean safety?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: The question is what is the critical problem in ocean safety. I would simply say in all of our meetings, both publicly and privately, the United States underscores our commitment to universal principles: freedom of navigation, peaceful resolution of disputes, and we seek to always underscore that we want cooler heads to prevail, to recognize that Northeast Asia is now the cockpit of the global economy. And we want very much to ensure that countries understand that responsibility and deal with issues responsibly so as to maintain peace and prosperity.

QUESTION: I want to discuss about next step at the UN Security Council about North Korea?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I imagine we will discuss those issues, yes, with both the incoming team and the current government.

OK, thank you all very much.