Remarks With South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan After Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
February 26, 2010

FOREIGN MINISTER YU: Should we say a few words?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, I will. I’m very pleased to welcome the minister from the Republic of Korea, especially the day after that magnificent Olympic Gold Medal-winning performance. And I think, although it was one young woman who did so magnificently, I believe the whole country is celebrating.

FOREIGN MINISTER YU: It was exciting.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I could see why. She was extraordinary. And we just finished a very in-depth, comprehensive discussion of a number of critical issues. Our bilateral relationship is strong and durable, and we are so appreciative of the leadership shown by Korea on a range of important matters, both regional and global.

As you might guess, we covered the usual topics of North Korea, the larger regional Pacific-Asia area’s concerns, Iran, and many other matters. But I am very pleased that Minister Yu could be here today.

FOREIGN MINISTER YU: Thank you. Well, I had a very good, (inaudible) consultation with Madam Secretary. And just let me say that this year marks the 60th anniversary of (inaudible) Korean War. And I want to say that our alliance (inaudible) has been the (inaudible) for the peace and prosperity and other (inaudible) in the region as a whole, and we appreciate (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Thank you.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, if I may ask, did Sung Kim come back with a very pessimistic report that talks would not resume anytime soon on North Korea? And two, did you raise with Minister Barak the Haaretz report about 600 new homes in East Jerusalem and how that might affect efforts to restart the peace negotiation?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Ambassador Sung Kim and Ambassador Stephen Bosworth are quite heartened by the movement that we see in our joint efforts. Obviously, we are closely cooperating with our allies – Korea and Japan – in anything we do toward North Korea. And we are working with the Chinese to bring about the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. Ultimately, it’s up to the North Koreans. But we are encouraged by signs of progress to return to the talks that we are seeing.

And on the other matter that you asked, we discussed all of the challenges to the resumption of peace negotiations, but the imperative of beginning to so do so as soon as possible.

QUESTION: Can you talk (inaudible) Foreign Minister (inaudible) Defense Minister Barak give you any reason to believe that the Israelis would take more steps on Gaza to try to improve the humanitarian situation there?

SECRETARY CLINTON: We discussed it at length. And Senator Mitchell and I made clear some of the concerns that we had and some of the ideas about what more could and should be done, and we hope to see progress there as well.

Thank you all.

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PRN: 2010/227