New FM Gets to Work

  • By Kim Jin-myung

    June 20, 2017 12:13

    New Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Monday said the government must uphold UN human rights resolutions against North Korea.

    "I used to work in the field of human rights, and I know what expectations the international community has of Seoul," Kang told reporters after she was sworn in at the Foreign Ministry in downtown Seoul.

    South Korea voted for a UN human rights resolution against North Korea for the first time in 2006, but abstained in 2007, when the second inter-Korean summit was held. Seoul started voting for the annual resolutions again in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha pays tribute at the Seoul National Cemetery on Monday. /Yonhap

    Kang also touched on a possible renegotiation of an agreement with Tokyo about victims of wartime sexual slavery.

    "First of all there needs to be discussion and analysis," she said. "The big issue of former sex slavery victims should be handled separately from other matters between Korea and Japan that should be developed in a future-oriented way."

    Kang said she has already looked at the checklist for President Moon Jae-in's summit with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on June 29-30. She said she is trying to find time for a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. "I'll fly to Washington ahead of the summit if it's possible," she added.

    In her inaugural address, she said, "We should be a main player in dealing with the North Korean nuclear and missile issue."

    "We need to respond firmly to provocations, but use all options, be they sanctions or dialogue, to induce the North to denuclearize."

    She added the process must be firmly grounded in the Seoul-Washington alliance, the "backbone of our diplomacy and security."

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