Third ROK-UK Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue Takes Place

1. Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se visited the United Kingdom from February 21 to 22, and held the third ROK-UK Foreign Ministers' strategic dialogue with his UK counterpart Boris Johnson at Lancaster House in London on February 22. The two sides engaged in an extensive exchange of views on bilateral relations; regional issues, including North Korea and its nuclear issue, the situation in Northeast Asia, Brexit, and the situation in Europe; and global issues, including response to violent extremism, peacekeeping, piracy eradication and development cooperation.

o This meeting between Minister Yun and his UK counterpart Johnson marked the second following their meeting held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September 2016.

o The ROK-UK Foreign Ministers' strategic dialogue was launched in London in December 2014 in order to promote consultation and cooperation not only on bilateral relations, but also on major regional and global issues. The second strategic dialogue took place in Seoul on August 10, 2015.

2. Minister Yun and Secretary Johnson took note that the ROK-UK relations have expanded to cover issues in Northeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific and around the world based on shared values, such as democracy and human rights. They agreed to work together to strengthen the ROK-UK strategic partnership and enhance substantive cooperation regardless of Brexit.

o Minister Yun noted that the UK is the only strategic partner in Europe which has established ministerial-level consultative mechanisms with the ROK in four major areas, including foreign affairs; economy and trade; finance; and the creative industry.

o The two sides expressed satisfaction over the fact that robust bilateral exchanges are underway in many areas, including science and technology, ICT, national defense and the defense industry, culture and consular affairs. They agreed to enhance cooperation between the governments of the two countries in order to continue to expand substantive cooperation that can benefit both countries.

o The two sides noted with appreciation that events in the ROK to celebrate the 2017-2018 Korea-UK Season started successfully with the London Symphony Orchestra's performance in Seoul on February 20. They hoped that various events to be held in the ROK and the UK will help promote mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of the two countries.

o Foreign Secretary Johnson stressed the need for the two countries, as free and democratic countries which share universal values, to jointly respond to anti-liberal trends that threaten the "rules-based international order," such as unilateralism and protectionism.

o The two sides agreed to continue to expand strategic cooperation on global issues, including response to violent extremism, peacekeeping, piracy eradication, crisis management, and development cooperation, through various channels for policy consultation between the governments of the two countries.

- Foreign Secretary Johnson spoke highly of the Cheonghae Anti-piracy Unit's first participation in Operation Atalanta, undertaken by the EU from February 27 to March 4. He hoped to see further cooperation between the ROK and the UK in the area of crisis management.

3. Minister Yun and Secretary Johnson shared the view that with North Korea's test-launch of a ballistic missile on February 12, it became clearer that North Korea has no intention of giving up its nuclear program. They also agreed that North Korea's continued development of nuclear weapons is a clear violation of Security Council resolutions and poses a serious threat not only to the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, but also to the whole world, including Europe, and strongly condemned it. The two sides agreed to further strengthen strategic cooperation between the two countries in responding to North Korea's nuclear and missile threats through the international community's strong sanctions and pressure, as well as in inducing North Korea onto a path toward denuclearization.

o Minister Yun noted with appreciation that the UK, as a permanent member of the Security Council and a key EU country, has played an important role in the international community's efforts to respond to the North Korean nuclear issue, including by significantly contributing to the adoption of the strong Security Council resolution and the EU's announcement of strong unilateral sanctions following North Korea's two nuclear tests last year. Minister Yun also asked the UK to continue to join the efforts to further strengthen sanctions and pressure on North Korea in order to make North Korea realize as soon as possible that it has no choice but to denuclearize, as there is not much time left to deter North Korea's nuclear weaponization.

o Secretary Johnson expressed serious concern over the fact that North Korea is developing its nuclear and missile capabilities at a rapid pace, and agreed to continue close cooperation between the two countries in increasing pressure on North Korea, including joint efforts to ensure the international community's faithful implementation of Security Council resolutions on North Korea. Secretary Johnson said that the UK will make more efforts towards a swift adoption of concrete measures that reinforce and supplement the EU's existing unilateral sanctions against North Korea. He also made it clear that regardless of Brexit, the UK will continue to firmly support the ROK's North Korea policy.

4. During his visit to London, Minister Yun also met with Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond on February 22, and laid a wreath at a memorial honoring Korean War veterans on February 21.

o Chancellor Hammond agreed to pursue close cooperation between the two countries in managing the situation after Brexit, and exchanged views on issues of mutual interest, including nuclear plant and the defense industry.

o During the Korean War, the UK sent the second largest number of troops (about 56,700) after the US. In the Korean War, 1,078 UK soldiers were killed, 2,674 wounded and 179 missing.

5. On February 21, Minister Yun held a meeting with Korean businessmen in the UK, and explained what efforts the ROK government has been making to respond to Brexit after the UK's decision to withdraw from the EU last year. Minister Yun and Korean businessmen also discussed economic trends in the UK and difficulties faced by Korean companies doing business in the country.

6. The latest ROK-UK Foreign Ministers' strategic dialogue helped enhance substantive cooperation between the two countries in various areas, including politics, economy, the defense industry, and culture, as well as further deepen extensive and strategic cooperation between the two countries in addressing regional and global issues, including North Korea and its nuclear issue, peacekeeping, and crisis management.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Korea

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