1. On September 26, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, who is on a visit to Washington, D.C., held a series of meetings with members of the US Senate and House of Representatives, and exchanged views on the ROK-US alliance and the North Korean nuclear threat.
※ Key schedule: △meeting with women members of the House of Representatives, △luncheon meeting with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, △meeting with Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain
2. Minister Kang elaborated on the ROK government’s policy on the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula and denuclearization, which was explained by President Moon Jae-in in his keynote address at the UN General Assembly last week. She also stressed the importance of cooperation between the ROK and the US to ease the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and induce North Korea to denuclearize.
o Minister Kang explained the achievements accomplished at the ROK-US summit talks, the luncheon between the leaders of the ROK, the US and Japan, and the ROK-US foreign ministerial meeting held in New York. She asked for full support from the US Congress on the efforts of the ROK and the US to impose stronger sanctions and pressure on North Korea and strengthen deterrent capabilities as part of a diplomatic solution to bring North Korea to the dialogue table for denuclearization talks.
o Minister Kang stressed that it is important for the ROK and the US to make efforts to manage the situation in a stable and cool-headed manner, while at the same time sternly responding to North Korea’s threats, including the recent statement by Kim Jong-un and the North Korean Foreign Minister’s remarks at the UN General Assembly.
3. The members of the Senate and House of Representatives said that the North Korean nuclear threat is reaching a level completely different from before, and stressed that the US commitment to the defense of the ROK is more important than ever. They also reaffirmed that the bipartisan support of the US Congress for the ROK-US alliance and sustained peace on the Korean Peninsula remains unwavering.
o (Meeting with women members of the House of Representatives) The Democratic and Republican members of the House of Representatives, including House Democratic Leader Pelosi and Representative Maloney, expressed concern over the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the region in the wake of North Korea’s repeated provocations, and stressed that there shouldn’t be another war on the Korean Peninsula.
- In addition, they said that they fully support a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear issue, and that the US Congress will make active efforts for that.
o (Meeting with the House Foreign Affairs Committee) Many members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, including its Chairman Royce, said that with the North Korean threat becoming a reality day by day, it is necessary to increase sanctions and pressure on North Korea, while maintaining strong deterrent capabilities, and stressed that to do so, the faithful implementation of Security Council sanctions resolutions by the international community, including China, is required. They said that it is also necessary to induce North Korea to change from within by facilitating the flow of information into the North.
o (Meeting with Chairman McCain) He expressed concern over the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula caused by North Korea’s belligerent attitude amid rapid advancements in the North’s nuclear warhead and missile capabilities, and said that as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he will provide all possible support to make sure that the US strengthens its credible commitment to the defense of the ROK, and maintains overwhelming deterrence capabilities against North Korea by providing extended deterrence.
4. The meetings with the key members of the US Congress, held as part of outreach activities towards the Congress, are seen to serve as a meaningful opportunity to increase the Congress’s understanding of and support for the ROK government’s vision and effort to achieve the complete dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear program in a peaceful manner and establish lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, and thereby to develop the ROK-US alliance into a true global strategic alliance.
* unofficial translation