Foreign Minister-appointed Representative Park Jin speaks to reporters outside his confirmation hearing preparation office in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)
During his first drive to the office preparing for a parliamentary confirmation hearing, Park of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s People’s Power Party also denounced Pyongyang’s recent missile launches, calling them a threat to peace in the the Korean peninsula.
“North Korea has launched short-, medium-, and long-range hypersonic missiles and even an intercontinental ballistic missile. These constant actions by Pyongyang increase military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and run counter to national security, peace and stability here,” Park said.
Park, who led President-elect Yoon’s consultation delegation to meet with U.S. officials in Washington, was released from quarantine after being confirmed positive for COVID-19 upon returning from travel on April 11.
“It is important to deter provocations from the North through close cooperation between South Korea and the United States…the Yoon Suk-yeol administration will pursue sound and balanced North Korean policies.”
Park also said the incoming Yoon administration would maintain consistency with its policies of lobbying and persuading for the denuclearization of the North and for peace and stability on the peninsula.
On the Moon Jae-in administration’s peace process initiative, Park said it has reached its limit. It is time for South Korea to change its plan in the face of communist rule, he said.
“I think the Moon Jae-in administration made efforts. But North Korea did not respond properly to (the initiative), as you saw in the failed Hanoi summit in 2019,” Park said.
“Thus, the current appeasement is not enough to stop the continued provocations from the North. I believe this is a time when change is needed for tangible policies.
While the incoming Yoon administration would consider joining the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) – a grouping of Australia, India, Japan and the United States – as the fifth member, Park also pointed out the importance of expanding international cooperation.
“The Quad is an advisory group of democratic nations that contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region. Even though South Korea is not an official member, I think it is important for the country to expand cooperation with such international groups in areas where we are prominent,” Park said.
The Quad is widely seen as being led by the United States, to counter China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
The foreign minister candidate also said close cooperation with Japan is crucial for peace on the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, while promising to continue communicating with China.
By Jo Herim ([email protected])