Remarks With Republic of Korea Deputy Minister Han Min-koo

Antony J. Blinken
Deputy Secretary of State
Seoul, South Korea
January 20, 2016

DEPUTY BLINKEN: Thank you very much.

MINISTER HAN (through interpreter): Mr. Deputy Secretary Blinken, Happy New Year. I know you are a man with a very tight and busy itinerary. Thank you for allotting some of the time for visiting MND with your delegation. It is a bit early (inaudible). Deputy Secretary Blinken this is, I believe, your third visit to Korea, second visit with me personally. I think you arrive at a very critical time. For this is a time when North Korea has conducted its recent fourth nuclear test. We are currently undergoing discussions for a United Nations Security Council resolution on this matter. It is also a time that calls for close coordination in the United States and the Republic of Korea as we look forward to forward measures concerning sanctions and suppression measures against North Korea.

So I think you arrive at a critical time. North Korea despite a repeated warnings and concern from the Republic of Korea, the United States and the international community, they have conducted their fourth nuclear test. I believe this is a grave threat not only to the Korean Peninsula and the North East Asian region but to the peace of the world as well. The President on this matter this recent fourth nuclear test has mentioned that North Korea must pay a price that corresponds to the gravity of their provocative behavior and based on this position, it is our government’s stance that we will work with partner nations such as the United States and Japan to conduct international sanctions as well as bilateral sanctions. And during, in this process, in our effort to do so I believe its stalwart coordination between our Alliance, between the Alliance of the United States and Republic of Korea is of utmost importance and therefore I believe your visit is quite meaningful and I hope we leave with productive results.

DEPUTY BLINKEN: Well, Mr. Minister first, thank you so much for receiving us this morning. It’s an honor to be with you. I could not agree more with everything you just said. I know from our consultations that our Alliance is as strong and deep, I would say stronger, than it’s ever been. Our coordination, our cooperation, is as strong as it’s ever been. And we face the challenge posed by North Korea in total solidarity. We share your view that there must be a strong response from the international community. And we are working on that together in New York with the Security Council. But the United States is grateful for the strong leadership of President Park, of you and your colleagues in facing this challenge and in working with such close solidarity with the United States and other partners. All of the countries in this region including the United States want and deserve stability. There is no greater source of instability than North Korea and the actions of its government. So we look forward to working with you in meeting this challenge.