South Korea president welcomes ‘return of diplomacy’ in first assembly with high US diplomat

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin had been in Seoul assembly their counterparts since Wednesday, after stopping in Tokyo, within the first worldwide journey by Biden Cupboard officers for the reason that inauguration.

Talking on the Presidential Blue Home, Moon congratulated Blinken and Austin on their roles within the new administration, and stated he regarded “forward to US leadership in the midst of complex crises.”

“Having been a partner for seven decades, sharing values and philosophy on democracy and human rights, ROK (the Republic of Korea) and the US will continue to act together on shared challenges, including a thorough cooperation for a complete denuclearization and permanent peace in the Korean Peninsula,” he stated.

He additionally praised the “rapidly stabilizing” pandemic state of affairs and vaccine rollout within the US, and stated the 2 nations’ alliance was “strengthening as the linchpin of peace and prosperity” within the area.

Blinken echoed this sentiment, saying the US officers had good working conferences with their South Korean counterparts and had “a very strong work plan for the coming months.”

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Earlier within the day, Blinken and Austin met with South Korea’s Minister of International Affairs Chung Eui-yong and Minister of Nationwide Protection Suh Wook in a joint “2+2” session.

In a joint assertion, they stated the alliance between their nations “has never been more important” within the midst of accelerating world threats.

In addition they affirmed that North Korean nuclear and missile points are a precedence for the US and South Korean alliance, and the 2 nations “reiterated the importance of maintaining joint readiness against all shared threats to the Alliance through combined training and exercises.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken bumps elbows with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong in Seoul on March 18.

North Korea had issued an announcement on Wednesday and Thursday denouncing joint workouts between the US and South Korea.

“We have a strong stance on improving human rights in North Korea and are trying continuously to make it better,” stated Chung in an interview with Korea’s Yonhap Information Company. “We have explained to the US government that we need to make these efforts along with practical improvements inside North Korea.”

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On the assembly, Blinken known as on China to play its function in North Korea’s denuclearization, saying Beijing and Pyongyang had a “unique relationship.”

“I think it has a shared interest in making sure we do something about North Korea’s nuclear program and the increasingly dangerous ballistic missile program,” Blinken stated, including that he hopes “China will use that influence effectively to move North Korea to denuclearization.”

Earlier than South Korea, Blinken and Austin had visited Japan to satisfy with their counterparts there and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Subsequent, Blinken heads to Alaska to satisfy with Chinese language diplomats, whereas Austin will go to India on Friday.

CNN’s Gawon Bae contributed to this report.