Spokesperson and Deputy Minister for Public Relations Cho Tai-young
Sep. 25, 2012 14:30 KST
Good afternoon. Let me start today’s briefing.
Today I have two announcements to make.
The first announcement is that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will launch a project to boost public diplomacy.
With the aim of boosting public diplomacy, the Ministry will conduct a public broadcasting service in the public subway for a month in October.
The broadcast will be available for viewing on the monitors within the trains of subway lines 1,3 and 4. The program will highlight the importance of citizens’ participation in public diplomacy and various ongoing public diplomacy projects conducted by the Ministry.
The second announcement is on the conclusion of a Cultural Cooperation Agreement with Lebanon.
The governments of the Republic of Korea and Lebanon will conclude an Agreement on Cultural Cooperation.
It will be signed by ROK Ambassador Kim Byoung-gi to Lebanon and the Lebanese Minister of Culture Gaby Layoun.
The Agreement includes various plans of exchange and cooperation between the two countries in the sectors of culture, arts, education, tourism and sports, etc.
Both governments will conduct diverse cultural cooperation projects under the Agreement.
This is all for my opening statement.
Q: Minister Kim Sung-Hwan commented on the need to put the recent issues between the ROK and Japan in the context at the UN General Assembly session for countries concerned to have a correct understanding of history.
Please tell us whether his speech on the 28th will stay at that level or go any further than that.
A: The content of the keynote speech has not been finalized yet. We will consider things, including how Japan will address the issues, and then finalize our speech accordingly.
Q: The government said it will request China to verify the report on the country’s plan to establish a regular monitoring system on Ieodo. Please tell us whether this has been verified, and what the ROK government’s response will be.
A: We are checking the facts.
And we will do our best in running the Ieodo Ocean Research Station. Yet, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea permits the freedom of voyage in and flight over the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Q: I am asking this out of curiosity. Have there been many cases in which Chinese vessels sailed very close to Ieodo?
A: Yes, to my knowledge, there have been.
Sailing in or flying over EEZs is allowed by the Convention on the Sea.
Q: Has there been any talk as to whether or not there will be a meeting between the ROK and Japanese Foreign Ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session? How likely do you think there will be one?
Has there been no talk that it could materialize?
A: Are you asking whether a meeting between the ROK and Japanese Foreign Ministers has been arranged on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session?
A: No decision has been made yet.
Q: By when do you expect China to respond to us with regard to its plan related to Ieodo? Were you unaware of relevant moves before the release of the press report?
A: We learned about it from a press report on China’s announcement.
We are working to accurately verify relevant facts in this regard.
As I have just told you, we will make our utmost efforts for the Ieodo Ocean Research Station to continue its operation without disruption.
Nevertheless, navigation and flight around the area is permitted by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Should our exercise of jurisdiction over our EEZ be undermined in any way, though, we will respond firmly to the situation.
Q: You said that flights over other countries’ EEZs are allowed. Does that mean then that it is OK for China’s unmanned surveillance aircraft to fly over Ieodo?
A: We will first verify relevant facts, including the purpose of the flights. I think the foremost important thing is getting an accurate picture of the situation.
Q: When did the latest high-level meeting take place to discuss the demarcation of the EEZ around Ieodo? Should China’s plan be intended to lay a jurisdictional claim to the island, how will the ROK government respond?
A: I don’t remember exactly when the latest relevant meeting took place. In their meeting held on the sidelines of the ongoing UN General Assembly session, the ROK and Chinese Foreign Ministers agreed to expedite negotiations on delimiting the EEZ boundary.
However, as you must be aware, although the two countries have held numerous rounds of negotiations, a gap in their principles of demarcation has hindered them from reaching an agreement.
This being an important issue, though, the ROK government will work to delimit the boundary at an early date.
Q: Please tell us how the ROK government will respond in case China lays a jurisdictional claim to Ieodo. Could you also specify the number of occasions that China has made such claims?
A: I cannot specify the exact number. Let me tell you, though, that if the EEZ boundary between the ROK and China is demarcated in accordance with the median-line principle, Ieodo definitely belongs to the ROK maritime territory.
While China takes a different stance, we will make every effort to make sure that we maintain our jurisdiction over the island based on the aforementioned position.
I will conclude today’s briefing. Thank you.
* unofficial translation