U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently met with South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan to discuss a wide range of bilateral, regional, and global issues.
On North Korea, Secretary Clinton said the United States remains committed to achieving a lasting peace on a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. "Our position," she said, "has not changed. While we remain open to direct engagement with North Korea, we remain firm in our resolve and our shared position that Pyongyang must improve its relations with the Republic of Korea." She also announced that the U.S., South Korea, and Japan plan to hold another trilateral meeting on this issue later this summer.
On the humanitarian front, the United States remains deeply concerned about the well-being of the North Korean people. The United States is analyzing the results of a recent field team's assessment and is closely monitoring the food situation in North Korea. Secretary Clinton said no decision has been made about providing food aid at this time. Such a decision must be based on legitimate humanitarian needs, competing needs elsewhere around the world, and the United States' ability to ensure and monitor that whatever food aid is provided actually reaches the people who are in need.
With regard to trade, the U.S. and South Korea are both committed to passing and implementing the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. Secretary Clinton said the trade agreement will boost exports and create tens of thousands of new jobs in both the U.S. and South Korea. She also said it would "send a powerful message that the United States and the Republic of Korea are strategic partners for the long term, and that America is fully embracing our continuing role as a Pacific power."
The United States applauds South Korea's extraordinary economic success, now the 12th largest economy in the world, and its impressive efforts as an emerging donor country to triple its development budget by 2015. The U.S signed a Memorandum of Understanding with South Korea that will promote efficiency in aid delivery and boost its impact in areas such as global hunger and food security, and maternal and children’s health, as well as help encourage the shift from aid to sustained economic growth and prosperity.
As Secretary Clinton said, "the Republic of Korea is an exemplary country fulfilling its responsibilities at home and abroad, and also an exemplary friend."