Remarks With South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan Before Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Foreign Minister's Residence
Seoul, South Korea
April 16, 2011

FOREIGN MINISTER KIM: Well, Madam Secretary, welcome to my country, and it is my great honor to have you at my humble residence. And actually, your visit to my country this time will certainly be more refreshing because – for the ratification of the Koreas FTA. I look forward to working closely with you to get the ratification from both of our legislatures.

And taking this opportunity, I would like to express our sincere appreciation for your support and close coordination in dealing with the North Korean issue, and your support for our inter-Korean dialogue first was the underlying force for progress of South-North dialogue. And I also look forward to working closely with you in resolving North Korean nuclear issues.

So short as your visit may be, I hope you will have a memorable and a meaningful stay here in Korea. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Minister Kim, let me thank you for your gracious hospitality on a Saturday night. But I must say it is a special treat for me to be here in your residence and also on a beautiful day in Seoul. The sun was shining. I cannot take credit for that, but if there's any credit to be extended, I won't reject it.

I agree completely with you. We have worked so closely together and I am very encouraged and determined about the passage of the Free Trade Agreement. We will be consulting and making the case together to our respective legislatures, and I’m very confident that there will be a positive outcome that will benefit both of our countries.

I also appreciate this opportunity to consult on global issues. We have worked closely together and will continue to do so on nonproliferation. We are looking forward to the Nuclear Security Summit next year that you will be hosting, and we’re very grateful for that. We are working closely together on development issues, and of course, you were the first to respond in the terrible wake of disasters that struck Japan. And I look forward to hearing your views on that as well.

There is much to be worked on together. Our partnership, our friendship our alliance, I think after two years of effort under this Administration, is stronger than ever. But it is important that we’re meeting in the home stretch of the Korean Free Trade Agreement and that’s going to be a singular accomplishment of both of our presidents and will contribute so much to broadening and deepening our relationship going forward.

PRN: 2011/T44-06