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Spokesperson's Press Briefing (Nov. 27, 2013)

  • Date : 2013-11-27 17:00:00
  • Hit : 961

Press Briefing
Spokesperson and Deputy Minister for Public Relations Cho Tai-young
Nov. 27, 2013 11:00 KST


Good morning. Let me start today’s briefing.

Today, I have four announcements to make.

First, the 9th High-Level Policy Consultation between the Republic of Korea and Brazil will take place in Brazilia on Thursday, November 28. The ROK and the Brazilian delegations to the meeting will be led by Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs Ahn Chong-ghee and Deputy Foreign Minister Maria Edileuza Fontenele Reis, respectively.

In the meeting, the two sides will review the current state of ROK-Brazil relations and discuss ways to work together in various sectors, including economy, trade, resources and energy.

The forthcoming meeting is expected to help broaden the foundation of sales diplomacy with Brazil.

Moving on to the second announcement, a Bahraini delegation led by Minister of Human Rights Dr. Salah bin Ali Abdul-Rahman is on a visit to the ROK from November 25 through 30.

The ROK government has been strengthening its relations with Bahrain since Prime Minister Chung Hong-won’s visit to the country from August 25 through 26. The visit to the ROK by the Bahraini delegation has been arranged as part of its follow-up measures.

Yesterday, Second Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Tae-yul met with Minister Abdul-Rahman. During its visit to the ROK, the Bahraini delegation will also visit the Ministry of Justice, the National Human Rights Commission and the National Assembly to discuss ways to enhance the relations and promote cooperation between the ROK and Bahrain.

Thirdly, the Foreign Ministry, together with Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, will host the 2013 Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) Cyber Secretariat Youth Forum on December 4 and 5.

The venue of the Forum will be Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. For your information, FEALAC is the only multilateral inter-governmental consultative body between East Asia and Latin America composed of 36 member states – 16 East Asian and 20 Latin American.

The upcoming event themed “the role of FEALAC and its future generations in promoting East Asia-Latin America exchanges” will be attended by undergraduate and graduate students from FEALAC member countries.

Lastly, the 7th ROK-China-Japan Meeting of Directors-General for Latin American and Caribbean Affairs will take place in Dalian, China, on November 28. This trilateral meeting has been held since 2006 to share information on the situation in Latin America and their respective policies toward the region as well as to explore ways to continue working together on relevant matters.

The delegations from the ROK, China and Japan will be led by their Directors-General for Latin American and Caribbean Affairs Jang Myung-soo, Shen Zhiliang and Akira Yamada, respectively.

The meeting is expected to serve as an opportunity to promote the three countries’ mutual understanding on their policies toward Latin America and seek ways for substantive cooperation with the region.

This is all for my opening statement.


[Q&A]

Q: The current ROK government made many diplomatic achievements in its early days in office, winning much support from the public. However, recently, with regard to security issues, the government’s adherence to relevant principles and priority on trust-building appears to be drawing criticism that it fails to pursue practical interests. What does the Foreign Ministry make of this criticism?

Secondly, I would like to ask you whether there is any possibility of the Foreign Ministry shifting its stance and pursuing more practical interests.

Lastly, China is sending signs that it would expand its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) to include parts of the West and the South Sea. What is the ROK Foreign Ministry’s position on this move?

A: In terms of your first question, I think that you were asking if the ROK government is attaching so much significance to trust and principle and fails to pursue practical interests.

I do not share that view. As you must be well aware, since its launch, the incumbent government has made many achievements, including through summit talks. It successfully carried out major summit diplomacy activities, including the presidential visit to the US and China as well as the visit to the ROK by the President of Russia. Needless to say, the achievements also include strengthening ties with the aforementioned countries and others, upgrading the ROK-US alliance and announcing the ROK-China Joint Statement for Future Vision, among many others.

I will not elaborate on every single one of the achievements. Anyway, I do not share the view that the government adhered to only trust and principles, failing to seek practical interests.

With regard to the sign of China moving to expand its ADIZ, a relevant high-level government official of the ROK already discussed this at the National Assembly. The government will comprehensively review ways to maximize the national interest.

Q: I have a question about China’s ADIZ. Ieodo is continuously brought up with regard to this ADIZ. Basically what does the ROK Foreign Ministry think is the status of Ieodo under relevant international law?

A: As you may know, Ieodo is a submerged rock, therefore not territorial land. In this vein, the issue concerning Ieodo is one of the jurisdiction over its surrounding waters. In other words, the issue is one regarding the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), not territorial land.

Q: I have a further question. You have just mentioned that the issue of Ieodo is not a territorial one. Do you then consider Ieodo a rock not subject to claims of territorial right? Also, with regard to Ieodo, the expression “effective control” is sometimes used. Do you consider this expression correct for Ieodo?

A: As I have just told you, Ieodo is not territorial land. Its issue is a matter of the EEZ. This clears up everything.

Q: I don’t think that answers my question. Is it the ROK Foreign Ministry’s judgment that the ROK exercises effective control over Ieodo?

A: The ROK set up and has since operated the Ieodo Ocean Research Station. The recent declaration of the ADIZ by China will not likely affect the ROK’s use of Ieodo.

Q: According to some press reports issued yesterday, Japan is calling for including Dokdo in the ADIZ. I would like the ROK Foreign Ministry’s comments on that.

A: I deem it inappropriate to express position on something that has been reported by the press but not verified. Regardless, the proposal, if indeed made, is just unthinkable and intolerable.

Q: According to a Japanese press report issued earlier today, the Japanese government is considering demanding jointly with the ROK and/or Taiwan that China withdraw its ADIZ. Does the ROK government plan to call on China to do so in cooperation with the Japanese and/or the Taiwanese government?

A: I know nothing about it.

Q: According to some press reports issued in Washington earlier today, the key preconditions for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks include verification of North Korea’s uranium enrichment program and its facilities as well as discussions on its long-range missile development at the Talks. Could you confirm this?

A: I can’t. What I can tell you, though, is that as I have told you on numerous occasions, the five member countries of the Six-Party Talks except for North Korea share the view that for the Six-Party Talks to be resumed, certain preconditions should be met and that the Talks, when resumed, should make tangible progress. Let me add that vibrant consultations have taken place with regard to what would be considered tangible progress. It is hard for me to share with you what they are, though.

Q: Has President Yudhoyono of Indonesia, as reported by press today, summoned a diplomat at the ROK embassy in the country over the allegation that the ROK helped wiretapping activities by the US and Australia? What is the ROK government’s position in that regard?

A: Let me clear this up for you: That report is not true. The Indonesian government summoned the ROK Ambassador to the country for a meeting.

Q: I have a further question in that regard. Please share with us what was discussed and what position of the ROK government was relayed at the meeting.

A: The Ambassador explained the ROK government’s position.

Q: Japan’s lower house of parliament passed the special secrecy bill yesterday. The upper house is predicted to pass today the bill for establishing a Japanese version of the US National Security Council. At your previous briefing, you refrained from discussing the bill. The matter is drawing much attention, as demonstrated by its headline coverage in some Korean newspapers today. How does the ROK government expect the moves to affect the ROK-Japan relations? What does the ROK government make of them?

A: I, as Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, will not discuss them at this briefing today.

Q: I read the news report that the ROK government had helped wiretapping activities of the US and the Australian intelligence agencies and that the President of Indonesia summoned the ROK Ambassador over the allegation. What does the ROK government make of this?

A: I answered this question a little ago. Let me make it clear that the press report is not true. The Indonesian government summoned the ROK Ambassador for a meeting, where the Ambassador explained the ROK government’s position.

Q: I have a question regarding the Buddhist statues stolen from Daemado (Tsushima), Japan. The relevant criminal trial has been completed, sentencing three or four people involved in the theft to imprisonment. The court has issued an injunction banning the return of one of the two Buddhist statues until its owner is determined. With regard to the other statue, some monks seem to argue that as the trial failed to prove that it is from Korea, it should be sent back to Japan as soon as possible. What, if any, is being discussed with the Japanese government in that regard?

A: I will check on that, as I am not well informed about the issue.

I will conclude today’s briefing. Thank you.


* unofficial translation