US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had been in Seoul meeting their counterparts since Wednesday, after stopping in Tokyo, in the first worldwide journey by Biden Cabinet officers for the reason that inauguration.

Speaking on the Presidential Blue House, Moon congratulated Blinken and Austin on their roles in the brand new administration, and mentioned he appeared “forward to US leadership in the midst of complex crises.”

“Having been a partner for seven decades, sharing values and philosophy on democracy and human rights, ROK (the Republic of Korea) and the US will continue to act together on shared challenges, including a thorough cooperation for a complete denuclearization and permanent peace in the Korean Peninsula,” he mentioned.

He additionally praised the “rapidly stabilizing” pandemic scenario and vaccine rollout in the US, and mentioned the 2 international locations’ alliance was “strengthening as the linchpin of peace and prosperity” in the area.

Blinken echoed this sentiment, saying the US officers had good working conferences with their South Korean counterparts and had “a very strong work plan for the coming months.”

Earlier in the day, Blinken and Austin met with South Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chung Eui-yong and Minister of National Defense Suh Wook in a joint “2+2” session.

In a joint assertion, they mentioned the alliance between their international locations “has never been more important” in the midst of growing world threats.

They additionally affirmed that North Korean nuclear and missile points are a precedence for the US and South Korean alliance, and the 2 international locations “reiterated the importance of maintaining joint readiness against all shared threats to the Alliance through combined training and exercises.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken bumps elbows with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong in Seoul on March 18.US Secretary of State Antony Blinken bumps elbows with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong in Seoul on March 18.

North Korea had issued an announcement on Wednesday and Thursday denouncing joint workouts between the US and South Korea.

“We have a strong stance on improving human rights in North Korea and are trying continuously to make it better,” mentioned Chung in an interview with Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. “We have explained to the US government that we need to make these efforts along with practical improvements inside North Korea.”

At the meeting, Blinken referred to as on China to play its function in North Korea’s denuclearization, saying Beijing and Pyongyang had a “unique relationship.”

“I think it has a shared interest in making sure we do something about North Korea’s nuclear program and the increasingly dangerous ballistic missile program,” Blinken mentioned, including that he hopes “China will use that influence effectively to move North Korea to denuclearization.”

Before South Korea, Blinken and Austin had visited Japan to fulfill with their counterparts there and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Next, Blinken heads to Alaska to fulfill with Chinese diplomats, whereas Austin will go to India on Friday.

NCS’s Gawon Bae contributed to this report.


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