Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Republic of Korea Foreign Minister Park Jin At a Joint Press Availability

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Seoul, Republic of Korea

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

MODERATOR:  (Via interpreter)  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  We will now begin a joint press availability from Minister Park and Secretary Blinken.  Opening statements will be made by the minister first, to be followed by the Secretary.

FOREIGN MINISTER PARK:  (Via interpreter)  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  It’s a pleasure to meet you.  I am Park Jin, foreign minister of the Republic of Korea.  We have with us today a good old friend of Korea, Secretary Blinken.  I especially welcome you to Korea once again.

Since the launch of the Yoon administration, this is the first visit made by the state secretary –Secretary of the U.S.  Secretary Blinken’s visit to Korea has made our celebration of the 70th anniversary all the more meaningful.

The more insecure the global landscape, the more robust the ROK-U.S. alliance grows.  On top of the war in Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas armed conflict is further aggravating the global polycrisis.

At today’s meeting, Secretary Blinken and I agreed that especially at times like these, the ROK-U.S. alliance as a global, comprehensive, strategic alliance must grow even stronger.  That was our shared understanding, and we discussed concrete avenues for working together.

Firstly, upon this year’s 70th anniversary of the alliance, a future vision was formulated based on which we agreed to continue driving a solid advancement of our alliance.  Freedom, rule of law, and human rights – guided by these core values, and with a view to safeguarding and promoting the rules-based international order, both our nations are determined to make continued, concerted endeavors.  Our two leaders have built a trust and bond that will undergird vigorous exchanges that will continue next year.

Moreover, (inaudible) the State Department concurred that the field of information collection  and analysis presented immense potential for collaboration and agreed to pursue a partnership on that front.

The ROK-U.S. alliance is an alliance toward the future, extending beyond military security to also address economic security, AI, quantum technology, space, and other frontier technologies, as well as culture and people-to-people exchange.  We will strive to expand the breadth of our cooperation.

The ROK-U.S. alliance will bring future generations even greater prosperity and opportunities.

Secondly, the ROK and the United States, while maintaining their steadfast and combined defense posture, pledged to continuously ramp up their extended deterrence execution capabilities.  The Washington Declaration that our two leaders agreed on is being faithfully implemented, to which we appreciated.  Last July, the ROK-U.S. Nuclear Consultative Group was launched, and in September the ROK-U.S. EDSCG vice minister-level meeting was held in Korea for the first time.

Moreover, in some 40 years, a U.S. SSBN made a port call in Korea, and a U.S. strategic bomber landed in Korea for the first time, among others, increasing regular visibility of U.S. strategic assets.  This sends a strong message of the ROK-U.S. alliance that any threats posed by the DPRK will be countered resolutely.

To enhance extended deterrence execution capabilities going forward as well, our two nations will continue their close coordination.  Furthermore, we strongly urge the DPRK to immediately halt all its provocations, including the scheduled launch of its so-called satellites.  To deter the DPRK’s nuclear and missile development, the ROK and the U.S. remain committed to making relevant endeavors.  The international community will never recognize North Korea as a nuclear (inaudible).  In partnership with the community of nations, North Korea’s illegal revenue streams will be more proactively blocked.

Military cooperation between Russia and the DPRK is a flagrant violation of the UNSC resolutions, as well as a serious threat to the entire world.  In recent weeks, the top diplomats of Korea, the U.S., and Japan condemned weapons dealings between Russia and North Korea by issuing a joint statement demonstrating their firm resolve to respond.  At the same time nonetheless the door to dialogue remains open, North Korea is strongly urged to cease its nuclear threats and provocations and return to a path towards denuclearization.

The international community, including the ROK and the U.S., are deeply worried about the forced repatriation of North Korean refugees.  To help improve human rights conditions in North Korea, we will further strengthen our international cooperation.

Thirdly, our two nations pledged to address global pending issues beyond the Korean Peninsula by working more closely together.  Above all, with regard to the Middle East situation, we strongly condemn the indiscriminate attacks on Israel.  The armed conflict between Israel and Hamas is causing a sharp rise in civilian casualties, about which we express our deep concern.  And the parties concerned are called upon to comply with international humanitarian laws and take steps to protect civilians.  In addition, we hope that all hostages – including American citizens – will soon be reunited with their families.

To stabilize the Middle East situation and – we reaffirmed that a humanitarian pause is necessary.  To restabilize the Middle East situation and resolve the humanitarian crisis, Secretary Blinken has engaged in proactive diplomacy, which I hold in high regard.

But to ensure humanitarian assistance will reach Gaza Strip without difficulty, we will collaborate with the international community.  To tackle the Israel-Palestinian problem at its roots, guided by a two-state solution, we’ll work closely with the international community.

Both sides reaffirmed that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine was a blatant violation of the UN Charter and international laws.  Towards ending the war and restoring peace in Ukraine, Korea and the U.S. resolved to continue their closely coordinated endeavors.  Through consistent communication with China, the U.S. has been working to responsibly manage its relations with the country, an endeavor I strongly support.  For us, based on mutual respect, we will endeavor to develop healthy, mature Korea-China relations.  This was explained to the U.S. side.

Next year, Korea will begin its non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council, where our two nations will be well poised to work in close partnership.  I asked once again for the U.S. support for Busan’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo.

Fourth, the Republic of Korea and the U.S. are committed to pursuing economic security by further intensifying their collaboration.  Both our nations are in economic security and (inaudible) technology, optimal partners for each other, and with this mutual understanding we agreed to scale up support for our respective businesses.

Recently released, a final report on implementation of the U.S. CHIPS and Science Act guardrails has resolved uncertainties raised by Korean companies to a substantial extent, which we noted with appreciation.

And so our two nations have jointly hosted the first bilateral space forum with success just two days ago.  Our two nations’ space cooperation is set in full motion, to our great satisfaction.  Going forward, collaboration in the space sector will be further extended through our joint efforts.

To formulate standards and norms on the use of AI in the military field, our two nations will continue closely working together.  To this end, Korea decided to join the U.S. Government initiative of the Political Declaration on the Responsible Military Use of AI and Autonomy.  Next year, Korea will host the Summit on the Responsible Artificial Intelligence in the Military Domain, and to ensure its success, we will work as close partners.

Additionally, recognizing the immense potential for collaboration in the nuclear power sector, including SMRs and advanced reactor types, our two sides agreed to pursue joint endeavors in this sector.

Lastly but not least, building on the Camp David summit, we’re determined to continue reinforcing ROK-U.S.-Japan partnership.  Camp David ushered in a new era for our trilateral cooperation.  As countries of shared core values and interests, it is desirable for Korea, the U.S., and Japan to strive together towards peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and beyond.  By faithfully implementing the agreements reached among the three leaders, we will steadily accumulate tangible achievements that the citizens of the three countries can experience.  At a mutually convenient time, the foreign ministers of the three countries plan to meet again to have in-depth discussions on trilateral cooperation between Korea, the U.S., and Japan.

During today’s meetings, Secretary Blinken and I were once again able to reaffirm that the Republic of Korea and the United States are stronger together.  Just as it has over the past 70 years, our journey together will continue into the future.  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Foreign Minister Park, my friend Jin, thank you.  Thank you for the very great meetings today.  Thank you for the collaboration that we have almost every day on so many issues of mutual concern.

I’m very glad to be returning to the Republic of Korea at a time of such incredible dynamism and importance for the relationship between our two countries.  Over the last 70 years, that relationship has grown from a key security alliance into a vital global partnership.  On nearly eveyr issue of consequence to our people, the United States and Korea are working closely together.

And that’s not an accident.  It’s a reflection of our commitment to this relationship and to this region.  Even as we engage intensively on the crisis in the Middle East, the United States remains clear-eyed and focused on advancing our interests, our values, and our vision of a free and open, prosperous, secure, and resilient region in the Indo-Pacific.

The week before this trip, President Biden welcomed Australian Prime Minister Albanese to Washington for a state visit, and we hosted PRC Director Wang Yi for consultations over two days.  Yesterday, I was in Japan, I’m here in Korea today, tomorrow I’ll be in India and I’ll have a chance to meet with our partners there as well.  Next week, we will host the APEC Summit in San Francisco.  And throughout the course of the day here in Seoul, we had very productive meetings with the National Security Advisor Cho, with my good friend Park Jin, and with President Yoon.  And I’m really grateful to President Yoon for his very warm hospitality and the very interesting and important discussion we had today.

Minister Park and I spoke about our countries’ unified approach in the face of the DPRK’s provocative actions and missile launches.  We discussed steps we can take to deliver on pledges made in the Washington Declaration, including through the U.S.-ROK Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultative Group, and our new Nuclear Consultative Group.

We also spoke about how, working with Japan, we can continue to operationalize the agreements that were reached at Camp David – agreements that strengthen our trilateral cooperation.  Already, our three countries are taking steps to improve our joint response through real-time sharing of DPRK missile warning data, trilateral defense exercises, and efforts to counter the DPRK’s malicious cyber activities.

We share profound concerns about the DPRK’s growing and dangerous military cooperation with Russia. The United States appreciates the clear message that President Yoon delivered at the UN General Assembly about the risks of that collaboration.

Today, Minister Park and I spoke about further actions that our countries can take with partners to intensify pressure on Moscow not to transfer military technology to the DPRK, in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.  The Security Council will be a critical forum for these efforts, and we support Korea’s clear vision for its upcoming term, including its focus on enforcing DPRK sanctions.

The United States deeply values our robust and growing economic partnership, which benefits people in the United States and Korea alike.  Just over the last two-and-a-half years, Korean companies have announced more than $110 billion in new investments in the United States.  These investments will create more than 70,000 new jobs in our countries and strengthen our supply chains in critical industries.  At the same time, the United States is now the second largest investor in Korea.

We’re also working closely together to reduce economic dependencies, including through our Minerals Security Partnership, in concert with nearly a dozen other countries and the European Union.

This economic partnership is helping us drive a shared affirmative economic vision across the region.  We’re doing that as members of the Indo-Pacific Framework for Economic Prosperity and APEC, as leaders on development initiatives from the Mekong subregion to the Pacific Islands, and as partners in efforts to reform multilateral development banks so that they better serve people in developing countries.

This is all a part of our effort to make a stronger, better offer to countries in the region and developing countries around the world.  That means delivering on the issues that matter in their lives, from high-quality infrastructure, to inclusive economic growth, to climate resilience and adaptation solutions.

And next week, when President Biden convenes partners in San Francisco next week for APEC, we look forward to taking further steps together and with our partners to create a strong, resilient future for all.

Minister Park and I also spoke about our work to address challenges to peace and stability in the region as well as around the world.  We discussed our mutual recent conversations with Director Wang Yi, and the strategic convergence that our countries have in our shared approach to China, including with regard to the South and East China Seas and the Taiwan Strait.

Korea continues to support Ukraine’s brave efforts to defend its people, to defend its land, to defend its democracy against Russian aggression.  President Putin’s war against Ukraine has been a strategic failure by virtually every measure – including by bringing partners in this region closer together with partners around the world.  Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand are now regular and active participants in NATO meetings.  As President Yoon has said, European and Indo-Pacific security are now truly indivisible.

In the Middle East, the United States appreciates Korea’s leadership in condemning Hamas’s terrorist attacks and in swiftly sending humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians.  Today, I had a chance to update Minister Park on my travels throughout the region, and we discussed how we can better address urgent needs on the ground and set the conditions for durable peace and security.

Our two countries share an extraordinarily ambitious vision for the next generation of our partnership.  And we’ve done so much work over the past year to lay the foundation for that.  We’ve made great strides, realizing a common vision that we have.  Today has been an important opportunity to continue that work with my friend, Jin.

Thank you.

MODERATOR:  (Via interpeter)  Thank you very much.  Next we will have a Q&A session.  Due to time constraints, we will take questions from two journalists from each side.  First, let me start with a Korean journalist.  Anyone with a question?  From Chosun Ilob, Eun Jung.

QUESTION:  Hi, my name is Eun Jung Kim, from Chosun Daily.  Welcome to Seoul. Secretary, I have two short questions for you.  I know you started your career as a journalist and I always admired how you stressed about the freedom of press oftentimes, so I was wondering, can you elaborate on how two countries can cooperate together dealing with fake news and disinformation, which is a serious problem in both countries?

And my second question is I know that you are a famous guitarist.  (Laughter.)  Minister Park is also a very talented singer, so I was wondering:  Will there be any alliance ceremonial collaborative performance happening in the near future?  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Well, on the second question first, I care too much about the relationship between our countries and the citizens in each of our countries to inflict myself in any way on them through music.  And I’ll let Jin decide for himself.  But thank you.  No, we actually have a – because of our mutual apprecation for music, a thread that I think runs through both our lives, it’s also a wonderful part of our own relationship, getting a chance to talk about that.

But on disinformation, look, this is a problem that we’ve been dealing with for some time in the United States.  We have malign foreign actors who try to interfere in one way or another in our democracies by spreading misinformation.  This is something that we discussed at Camp David, and the three presidents committed to working together to try to combat disinformation.  We discussed that today, and we are looking at ways to share information about ways that we can effectively identify and deal with disinformation, foreign disinformation.

So this is a commitment that we’ve made on a trilateral basis.  It’s also something we’re doing between us on a bilateral basis, and it’s something that the State Department will be following up on with the ministry in the weeks ahead.  Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER PARK:  (Via interpreter)  Regarding fake news and disinformation, you posed a question.  Foreign disinformation as a matter of fact can undermine trust in the government and the foundations of democracy, and as such, it is emerging as a new security threat.  Various cutting-edge technologies are making headway and SNS is also moving forward, and as a result of that, this new transnational security threat is being posed.  And to effectively counter them, the international community’s joint efforts is essential.  Based on this understanding, our two countries will discuss the sharing of relevant information and various other avenues of full cooperation going forward.  At the last August Camp David summit, when there was the summit of the two leaders regarding foreign disinformation, we decided to address how to work together to address the foreign disinformation matter together.

You talked about guitar playing last April, as a matter of fact, when President Yoon made a state visit to the U.S.  At the White House dinner the president sang “American Pie,” which has created quite a sensation among the American public.  Secretary Blinken, as a matter of fact, presented an LP version of “American Pie” to the president himself.  I know that he’s a well-known guitarist; it is well known in Seoul as well.  This is a good example of the public diplomacy through music.  I love music myself; I play guitar myself, and in celebration of the Secretary of State’s visit to Korea, the 70th anniversary alliance logo was placed upon guitar straps that I prepared as a gift for him.  And I bought the same thing for myself, and at some point in the future, maybe, with the Secretary, I would love to have an opportunity to play together for harmony of the alliance.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Maybe the two of us can be the opening act for President Yoon one day.  (Laughter.)

MR MILLER:  The first question on the U.S. side goes to Nike Ching with Voice of America.

QUESTION:  Good afternoon.  Good afternoon, Mr. Foreign Minister.  Weapons from North Korea were allegedly used by Hamas in its attack on Israel on October 7th.  Is there proof of direct cooperation between North Korea and Hamas?  If so, should we expect South Korean Government to impose sanctions on North Korean entities and individuals that directly provide Hamas with weapons?

To Secretary Blinken, what does the U.S. believe North Korea is getting in return regarding alleged North Korea weapons shipments to Russia?  And separately, if I may, what’s your position on threats from President Yoon’s administration to cancel the inter-Korea military agreement?  Can a unilateral cancellation lead to misunderstandings and miscalculation?

And to both of you, if I may:  Sanctions have not worked to deter North Korea from military provocation.  What leverage do you have left?  Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER PARK:  (Via interpreter)  Regarding the Israeli-Hamas armed conflict, you posed a question regarding potential North Korean involvement.  As you must well understand, both our nations believe that the attacks against civilians and kidnapping them is an act of terrorism.  And this is something that we strongly condemn.  And at the moment, hostages that are being held should be released without any conditions.  That is our shared position.

As this armed conflict becomes aggravated, more than 10,000 people have lost their lives, and we share deep concerns about this situation.  Protection of civilians is also important and relevant to humanitarian; international laws should be observed, in our view.

Regarding the relations between North Korea and Hamas, this is something that we are closely watching ourselves.  Heavy weapons that are being used by Hamas, or the doctrine that’s being adopted by Hamas, or the military tactics – all of these aspects are something that we are keeping a close eye on.  And if any relationship between them is revealed, then North Korea should be condemned accordingly.  This crisis that is unfolding in the Middle East is related potentially to the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and that is a perspective that we’re having and are watching the Middle East situation.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Nike, with regard to DPRK-Russia cooperation, this is a matter of deep concern for both of us as well as for other countries around the world, and we’re seeing a two-way street.  We’re seeing the DPRK provide military equipment to Russia for pursuing its aggression against Ukraine, but we’re also seeing Russia provide technology and support to the DPRK for its own military programs.  And that’s a real concern for the security of the Korean Peninsula, it’s a real concern for global nonproliferation regimes, it’s a real concern for the Russian aggression in Ukraine, and a real concern for its violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

So we will keep working with the Republic of Korea, with other interested countries, to identify, to expose, and to counter Russia’s attempts to acquire military equipment from the DPRK and any state that is prepared to support its war against Ukraine.  And similarly, we’re looking very hard at the support that Russia is providing to the DPRK.  Our own commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea is ironclad, and we’re only reinforced in that commitment when we see these kinds of dangerous actions taking place.  So this is something we’re very focused on.  And as mentioned, when Korea is on the Security Council next year along with the United States, along with Japan, that will be another opportunity to focus on these concerns.

With regard to the inter-Korean military agreement, this is obviously an agreement between the Republic of Korea and the DPRK, but it’s something that’s come up in discussions here today.  We’re having consultations on it, and Secretary of Defense Austin will be in Korea this weekend, and I know that he’ll pursue those conversations.

MODERATOR:  (Via interpreter)  Again, our next question from a Korean journalist, Shin Su-ah from MBC.

QUESTION:  (Via interpreter)  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  I am Shin Su-ah from MBC.  My question goes to both the Secretary and minister.  If the U.S.-China summit meeting is convened the next week, then do you believe that China needs to play a certain role to address North Korean nuclear issues?  And how do you plan to induce China’s role-playing?  Secretary Blinken visited Korea in more than two years, and can you please explain in detail about your plan to induce China’s constructive role?

FOREIGN MINISTER PARK:  (Via interpreter)  As you must be well aware, the Korean Government has been pursuing close coordination with the U.S. regarding the North Korean nuclear issue.  We have been urging China to play constructive roles.  North Korea is developing nuclear weapons and missiles and engaging in provocations, and this is something that is not helpful to China.  That’s the message that we have been sending to them.  China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council at the moment; as such, they need to briefly implement sanctions against the DPRK and to help North Korea, to persuade North Korea, to cease provocations and return to a dialogue.  We are urging them to play that role.

The U.S. side, as far as I understand, Secretary Blinken has met with Director Wang Yi, his counterpart from China, for – and they had a conversation.  And on those occasions of high-level exchanges, given China’s special influence over the DPRK, I understand that they have been calling on China to play a constructive part.  Both Korea and the U.S. will be serving on the UN Security Council together next year.  As such, regarding the North Korean nuclear issues, China’s constructive role-playing should be induced by us working together next year.

QUESTION:  (Via interpreter)  Mr. Park, my question was related to China’s role regarding the growing closeness of – between the DPRK and Russia, as opposed to the relationship with China.

FOREIGN MINISTER PARK:  (Via interpreter)  So regarding tightness between the DPRK and Russia, the growing closeness between these two countries and arms dealings between these two countries is not something that China would like to see.  Due to the war in Ukraine, there is a security crisis that’s unfolding in Europe and in Northeast Asia between the DPRK and Russia.

If there is going to be arms dealings that would contribute to heightening tensions on this part of the world, that would definitely not help China and it’s not going to promote its interests.  Therefore, China needs to understand the concerns of neighboring countries as well as the concerns of the international community so that such dangerous dealings and transactions should – would not take place.  China needs to play a role to ensure that, and we, our both nations, will play a part as well.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  So I can only underline and endorse what Foreign Minister Park has said.  We have exactly the same perspective.  We’ve seen DPRK missile launches, the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missile capabilities, all of which are in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions, but also dangerous and destabilizing.  And it’s increasingly engaged in threatening, irresponsible rhetoric, including by characterizing some of these missile launches and other military activities as trial runs for the use of tactical nuclear weapons.  It’s incredibly irresponsible.

We’ve certainly discussed this on repeated occasions with China and with its senior officials.  And we pointed out that to the extent that China values and places a premium on stability in the region, well, North Korea is the greatest source of instability.  China has a unique relationship with North Korea; as a result of that relationship, it has real influence, and we do look to China to use that influence to play a constructive role in pulling North Korea back from its irresponsible and dangerous behavior.  And as Jin said as well, this is something that I’m sure we’ll take up at the Security Council next year, where we’ll be together along with – along with China.

MR MILLER:  For the final question:  Kosuke Kinashi with Kyodo.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary and Minister Park, thank you – thank you so much for doing this.  I have two questions, first about trilateral cooperation among U.S. and Korea and Japan.  As, Mr. Secretary, you mentioned, the leaders of three countries in summit at Camp David in August agreed to share real-time missile warning data by the end of this year.  Well, now it’s November, so my question is:  How soon their system is going to get activated?

And the second question is a follow-up on Nike’s question on cooperation between the DPRK and Russia.  There are concerns that North Korea could receive sensitive technology that could (inaudible) the threat of Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile program.  So how do you think you can prevent that?  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Sure.  On the missile warning data-sharing, this is something we’re moving forward on.  We made a commitment to do that at Camp David, and we’re moving forward on it.  As I mentioned earlier, Secretary Austin, the Secretary of Defense, will be here this weekend, and I know he’ll be following up and addressing that.

In terms of the support that Russia may be providing to the DPRK, this is something that we’re watching very, very closely, very, very carefully.  And of course we have real concerns about any support for its – for North Korea’s ballistic missile programs, for its nuclear technology, for its space launch capacity.  And as we said earlier, that support would be in clear violation of multiple Security Council resolutions.  Russia has an obligation especially, as a permanent member of the Security Council, to uphold the resolutions, not to violate them.

So this is something that we’re very focused on.  We’re working to, as I said, identify, to expose, and as necessary, to counter these efforts, and we’ll work on that together on the Security Council next year.

FOREIGN MINISTER PARK:  (Via interpreter)  Regarding the trilateral partnership between our three countries, during the Camp David summit the three countries have decided to institutionalize the collaboration among the three countries.  And we have upgraded our partnership as well, which was a historic endeavor.  The biggest security threat among the three countries is the North Korea nuclear threat as well as the threats posed by its missile program, ballistic missile program.  We will have to continue bolstering our collaboration going forward, as was mentioned by Mr. Secretary.

Regarding North Korea’s missile data, real-time information-sharing is extremely important.  And through that endeavor we would be able to build up a posture to deter North Korea’s provocations.

These weapons of mass destruction, the development of those weapons by the DPRK, is an endeavor that it is pursuing.  And also it is engaged in hacking throughout the networks to earn foreign currency to finance its weapons development program.  And we need to block all such revenue streams and stop its illegal activities through international collaboration.  Korea, the U.S., and Japan should work together as members of the UN Security Council.  We will have to pursue close coordination, and share information, and bolster our collaboration going forward.  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  (Via interpreter)  With that, this concludes the joint press availability for the foreign minister and Secretary.  Thank you.

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