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KOR

Press Briefings

Spokesperson's Press Briefing (Mar. 20, 2014)

Date
2014-03-20 18:00:00
Hit
680

Press Briefing
Spokesperson and Deputy Minister for Public Relations Cho Tai-young
Mar. 20, 2014 14:30 KST


Good afternoon. Let me start today’s briefing.

Today, I have two announcements to make.

First, the Foreign Ministry will hold the launching ceremony of the third batch of Working-Holiday Friends at the Ministry tomorrow, March 21. The Friends are recruited to extend support to participants of the Working Holiday Program.

The Foreign Ministry will continue to proactively support activities of the Working-Holiday Friends and thereby help many more Korean youths better prepare themselves for participation in the Working Holiday Program and become globally competitive human resources.

Moving on to the second and last announcement, Gastech, one of the world’s biggest gas industry events, of the year 2014 will take place in the Republic of Korea from March 24 through 27.

The Foreign Ministry is an official sponsor of the VIP Programme of the Gastech 2014. The Foreign Ministry, in particular, will host as a side event of the VIP Programme a “consultation among five Northeast Asian countries on ways to curtail gas prices in Asia” in Seoul on the afternoon of March 23.

This consultation has been organized for energy experts from five Northeast Asian countries, including Japan, China, Russia and the US, as well as the International Energy Agency (IEA) to get together and seek substantive ways to curtail gas prices in Northeast Asia.

The event will host some 50 people, including officials from local and foreign government agencies and businesses related to energy as well as relevant experts. This meeting, as an opportunity for the countries in the region to have dialogue and seek cooperation on energy security, is expected to contribute to the implementation of the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative pursued by the ROK government.

This is all for my opening statement.


[Q&A]

Q: A producer of a Korean broadcaster has reportedly been arrested in Nepal. Please share with us details of this incident.

A: A total of four ROK nationals, including an employee of a Korean broadcasting company and a local guide with ROK nationality, were arrested in Nepal on March 18 on the charges of filming the country’s shrines and military facilities without a permit, and are undergoing interrogation at a police station there.

The ROK Embassy in Nepal has sent the consul in charge and an administrative staffer to the police station concerned to provide consular assistance as necessary.

Currently, an investigation is under way in the office of the head of the police station concerned. The local ROK Embassy is continuously requesting to the police authorities of Nepal that the investigation be conducted in a prompt and fair manner. The Foreign Ministry will continue making efforts for the case to be smoothly wrapped up as soon as possible.

Q: There have been many press reports since yesterday that an ROK-US-Japan summit would take place on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in the Netherlands. What, if any, is being consulted among the foreign ministries of the three countries in terms of its agenda, how it would proceed, etc?

A: Nothing has been decided yet regarding the said ROK-US-Japan summit.

Q: I have a related question. In your previous briefing, you mentioned that “If Japan demonstrates sincere attitude and creates conditions where constructive dialogue is possible, there is no reason for the ROK not to have dialogue with the country“ and that “What the ROK government means by sincere steps is steps for resolving the issue of sexual slavery victims drafted for Japan’s Imperial Armed Forces.” Does this apply to the proposed ROK-US-Japan summit as well or only to an ROK-Japan summit?

A: As I believe I have spoken sufficiently about it, I will not go into that again.

Q: Does the ROK government deem that the Japanese side has taken sufficient sincere steps?

A: Yes, as I have just said, nothing has been decided yet regarding the ROK-US-Japan summit.

Q: I have two questions. By saying “nothing has been decided yet regarding the ROK-US-Japan summit,” do you mean that the ROK government is not holding any working-level consultations with the Japanese side with respect to such matters as agenda and ways to proceed with the summit?

Moving on, with regard to the arrest of the producer and others in Nepal, are all the four people currently undergoing questioning? If they were arrested on March 18, it has already been four days since then. They are said to be not in detention. I would like to know under what condition they are undergoing interrogation.

A: Let me answer your first question by reiterating what I have said: Nothing has been decided yet regarding the ROK-US-Japan summit. In terms of your second question, to my knowledge, all the four are undergoing questioning. It is also my understanding that they are not in detention.

As I mentioned earlier, the ROK Embassy in Nepal continues to be in contact with the local police authorities. It is making its utmost efforts to see the investigation conducted in a fair and prompt manner and the case wrapped up as soon as possible.

Q: Is President Park Geun-hye set to hold bilateral and/or trilateral summit meetings other than the proposed trilateral one with the US and Japan on the sidelines of the NSS in The Hague?

A: As I told you the other day, her schedule during her overseas trip is expected to be announced when ready.

Q: If Japan takes sincere steps, will there be a ROK-US-Japan summit on the sidelines of the NSS in The Hague?

A: I have already answered a similar question. I believe I have said enough in that regard.

Q: You mentioned a little ago that nothing has been decided yet regarding the ROK-US-Japan summit. Please tell us whether it is being mulled over.

There is another kind of trilateral summit meetings involving the ROK, which is ROK-China-Japan summits, and they have not taken place since the launch of the Park Geun-hye government. Please share with us the ROK government’s position on holding an ROK-China-Japan summit as well as the current situation regarding the ROK-US-Japan summit.

A: Nothing has been decided yet regarding either an ROK-US-Japan or an ROK-China-Japan summit.

Q: I understand that the National Security Council convened at the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae yesterday. I assume that diplomatic measures to be taken at the NSS in The Hague were discussed in the meeting.

Although a formal announcement has yet to be made in that regard, please share with us what you can in terms of the Foreign Ministry’s position and other matters that were discussed in the meeting.

A: As I understand it, details regarding the NSC, including the holding time and the agenda of its meetings, are, in principle, not publicly discussed.

Q: Please elaborate on the ROK government’s position on the Russia-Crimea treaty on Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

A: The ROK government’s position on the issue was expressed in the statement issued yesterday under the name of the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson.

The statement reads, “The government of the Republic of Korea already expressed serious concern over the latest developments in Ukraine. Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence must be respected. The ROK government will not recognize Crimea's referendum and Russia’s annexation of Crimea.”

Q: According to some Japanese press reports, the ROK and the Japanese governments have started to consider establishing a director-general-level consultative mechanism between their Foreign Ministries to discuss the issue of sexual slavery victims drafted for Japan’s Imperial Armed Forces and various other issues between them. Please share with us what you can in that regard.

A: Let me just reiterate once again that the Japanese government should resolve the issue of sexual slavery victims drafted for Japan’s Imperial Armed Forces as soon as possible.

Q: With regard to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, in addition to the ROK Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s statement issued yesterday, is the Foreign Ministry currently considering taking other measures, such as imposing sanctions on Russia?

A: Nothing of the sort has been decided yet.

Q: I have another question in that regard. By “nothing has been decided,” do you mean that some measures are under review, although not decided yet?

A: Please refer to what I said earlier.

Q: Has the ROK government received from the US side a request that the former join in imposing sanctions on Russia?

A: Not that I know of.

Q: I am a bit confused. What is the ROK government’s position on the ROK-US-Japan summit?

A: Nothing has been decided yet.

I will conclude today’s briefing. Thank you.


* unofficial translation