Remarks With Republic of Korea Foreign Minister Kim Sung Hwan

James B. Steinberg
Deputy Secretary of State
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Seoul, South Korea
January 26, 2011

FOREIGN MINISTER KIM: Well outside is very cold.

DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: I think it’s beautiful. I was telling our friends that I grew up in Boston. The weather is like this all the time so I felt very much at home.

FOREIGN MINISTER KIM: But it is a very hot atmosphere here and it reflects our bilateral relationship.

DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: Absolutely. Nothing could be warmer.

FOREIGN MINISTER KIM: Yes. Taking this opportunity I wish to express my thanks to you personally. First to help us and also, reflecting our position in formulating the language of the US-China Joint Statement. I’m very happy to see that China, for the first time, they also recognize the UEP program and they expressed their concern in the statement. And also, President Obama stated that both Presidents agreed that North Korea should avoid further provocation. I just now read the text of the State of the Union address that you stand with us and also urge North Korea to abandon their nuclear programs. It’s a very encouraging and a positive sign for us. The message was most appropriate. Based on that summit outcome, I hope that we can continue our cooperation and coordination in dealing with North Korea.

DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG: Thank you Minister, it’s great to be here and to have such a warm welcome on a cold day. As you know, it’s been our work together over the last two years and our shared determination to deal with the challenge of North Korea in a way that protects the interests of South Korea, the United States, and all the countries of this region. I think that led to a very successful outcome of this summit and I think it will put us in a good position moving forward. I do appreciate everything that your President and you have done to make that possible in the close consultations that we’ve had throughout.

I also want to extend our congratulations to the successful operation that your military had in dealing with the pirates. We were very impressed. We know what a challenge that is but it really reflects the skill and determination of your military forces. That’s something you deservedly should feel proud about.

FOREIGN MINISTER KIM: I think our Navy, they really did a great job there. It sent a message to pirates.