U.S. and South Korea Express Concerns Over North Korea’s Hostile Stance

WASHINGTON - In a series of high-level meetings, officials from South Korea and the United States voiced significant concerns regarding North Korea's characterization of South Korea as a "hostile" nation and its actions that could potentially alter the status quo in the Yellow Sea. This stance was detailed by Seoul's Foreign Ministry following a breakfast meeting between South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell in Washington. This meeting came on the heels of Cho's discussions with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, marking Cho's inaugural in-person bilateral dialogue since assuming office in January.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the discussions reiterated apprehensions about North Korea's aggressive posture towards South Korea and any attempts to disrupt the established maritime boundaries in the Yellow Sea. Both nations pledged to work closely to deter any provocations by North Korea, underscoring a unified front in response to the threats and provocations emanating from Pyongyang. The issue is particularly pressing as North Korea disputes the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto maritime border established by the U.N. Command following the Korean War, advocating for its recognition and challenging its legitimacy.

During their meeting, Cho encouraged Campbell to actively contribute to the strengthening of bilateral and trilateral ties, including cooperation with Japan. Campbell reaffirmed the value placed on relationships with both South Korea and Japan and committed to enhancing tripartite cooperation through consistent communication.

The discussions also touched upon the economic sphere, with Cho advocating for the U.S. to facilitate beneficial conditions for South Korean businesses expanding their investments in the United States.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller provided insights into the meeting's agenda, highlighting concerns over military collaboration between North Korea and Russia, including the provision of ballistic missiles for use in the conflict in Ukraine. This cooperation is seen as a significant threat to regional stability and global nonproliferation efforts.

Furthermore, the talks addressed China's support of the Russian defense industrial base and the importance of continued support for Ukraine amidst Russian aggression. The meetings between Cho and U.S. officials underscored the strong alliance between South Korea and the United States and reaffirmed the strategic importance of their trilateral partnership with Japan.

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