U.S. 'Understands' Park's Decision to Attend China Parade

      September 02, 2015 09:58

      Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se (left) shakes hands with his U.S. counterpart John Kerry at the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic in Anchorage, Alaska on Tuesday. /Courtesy of the Foreign Ministry

      Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry affirmed the partnership between their two countries on the sidelines of the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic in Anchorage, Alaska on Tuesday.

      The meeting took place a day ahead of President Park Geun-hye's visit to Beijing to attend World War II commemorations including a massive military parade.

      Seoul has been nervous about the plan because Washington has discouraged its allies to attend celebrations that it sees as China affirming its rising might in the region.

      But Yun explained the impact Park's visit would have on Korean affairs, according to a government official, who added Kerry "completely understood the circumstances."

      Yun and Kerry agreed that a constructive role by China is crucial in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

      Before the meeting Kerry told reporters that Seoul has been a "superb partner" for Washington in dealing not only with regional security issues in Northeast Asia, but beyond.

      A Foreign Ministry official said, "The two officials agreed to continue close strategic negotiations."

      One diplomatic source said, "The two agreed on the need to use China's leverage in order to prevent North Korea from launching a long-range missile in early October."

      U.S. President Barack Obama is not attending the celebrations in Beijing and, in a somewhat peevish gesture, only sending the ambassador to Beijing.

      Yun and Kerry stressed the cooperation between Seoul and Washington in dealing with the recent military standoff with the North. Kerry reaffirmed the role of the U.S. in South Korea's defense.

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