South Korea and the US on Thursday stressed that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile issues are a “priority” for the alliance, and reaffirmed their commitment to resolve the matter through a coordinated response.
The two sides issued a joint statement detailing the pledge, after the so-called two-plus-two talks at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul earlier in the day, which involved South Korea’s Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and Defense Minister Suh Wook, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
“The Ministers and Secretaries emphasized that North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile issues are a priority for the Alliance, and reaffirmed a shared commitment to address and resolve these issues,” the statement read. “They affirmed the importance of full implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions by the international community, including North Korea.”
The officials also pledged to coordinate closely on all issues related to the Korean Peninsula, and to maintain high-level consultations on the US’ ongoing North Korea policy review, which Blinken said would be completed in the weeks ahead. They also agreed to maintain “close coordination and consultation” with Seoul and Tokyo, among others.
Blinken said both pressure and diplomatic options were being considered in the ongoing policy review, but he declined to give details.