S. Korea to broaden diplomatic horizons, deepen ties based on shared values: ministry

SEOUL– South Korea plans to focus efforts on broadening its diplomatic horizons this year by strengthening relations with other nations with “shared values” in overcoming “global complex crises,” Seoul’s foreign ministry said Wednesday in its report to President Yoon Suk Yeol on major policy tasks this year.

The drive is part of efforts to achieve the administration’s vision of making South Korea a “global pivotal state” through “preemptive and proactive” diplomacy amid lingering challenges, such as “strategic competition” between the United States and China, the Russia-Ukraine war and the coronavirus pandemic.

“We wanted to emphasize that forming solidarity with countries with shared values is very important to our diplomatic strategy,” First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong said during a briefing on the ministry’s policy vision.

The ministry seeks to further develop the South Korea-U.S. global comprehensive strategic alliance, which was agreed during talks between Yoon and U.S. President Joe Biden in May, and strengthen three-way security cooperation involving Japan.

Seoul will continue to strive to mend ties with Tokyo this year by seeking “reasonable solutions” to pending issues related to Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. Cho said the ministry hopes for the revival of the “shuttle diplomacy” with Japan through the process.

South Korea is also eyeing “healthy and mature” relationships with China based on the spirit of mutual respect and reciprocity.

On North Korea, the ministry aims to play a leading role in raising issues related to the North’s human rights problems and to strengthen international cooperation to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program.

The government will also seek to resume North Korean denuclearization talks with a “flexible and open stance” and strengthen cooperation with relevant countries for “principled and sustainable” negotiations, the ministry said.

After receiving the policy report, Yoon instructed the ministry to “thoroughly explain” to Beijing Seoul’s position on its new entry regulations for visitors from China, as it is a “matter of protecting our nationals based on scientific grounds,” Foreign Minister Park Jin quoted the president as saying.

China announced Tuesday the suspension of short-term visa issuance for South Koreans in retaliation against South Korea’s strengthened antivirus curbs against arrivals from China since last week.

“It is very regrettable that China has taken retaliatory measures, such as fully suspending short-term visa issuance,” Park said during a joint press conference with the defense minister.

On North Korea, Yoon stressed the need to respond sternly against Pyongyang on the basis of a “precise analysis” of comprehensive aspects of the country, including politics, the economy and society, as well as military elements, according to Park.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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