President Park Geun-hye held back-to-back meetings with 19 foreign delegations including U.S. national security adviser Tom Donilon on her second day in office Tuesday.
In the meeting with the U.S. delegation, Park and Donilon reportedly shared concerns and views on North Korea’s defiant Feb. 12 nuclear test and agreed on enhanced cooperation to deal with the heightened security tensions.
Donilon is a close aide of U.S. President Barack Obama in charge of foreign affairs and security policies.
“I send my appreciation to President Obama for sending the delegation (for the inauguration) and for the congratulatory statement by the White House immediately upon my election,” Park told Donilon.
|President Park Geun-hye (right) meets with U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon at Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday. (Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)|
In her inauguration speech Monday, Park sent a double-sided message to the reclusive state, strongly warning against North Korea’s nuclear ambitions but also urging it to join the trust-building process.
The meeting was accompanied by senior secretaries Ju Chul-ki for foreign affairs and security, Cho Won-dong for economy and Lee Nam-ki for public relations from the South Korean side. From the U.S., ambassador to Korea Sung Kim, commander of the U.S. Forces Korea James Thurman and Daniel Russel, senior director for Asian affairs at the White House’s National Security Council, joined.
Park thereby completed her meetings with the four major regional players in her first two days at Cheong Wa Dae, following talks with Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, China’s State Councilor for Education, Culture and Science Liu Yandong, and Russia’s Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East Viktor Ishayev the day before.
Earlier on Tuesday, Park met with Canada’s Governor General David Johnston, during which the new president thanked the country for its continuous interest in the North Korean nuclear issue.
Other meetings included those with Japan’s former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, Indonesian Vice President Boediono, Peruvian Vice President Marisol Espinoza, Vietnam Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan and a group of high-level Japanese politicians.
“I believe that diplomacy between the politicians is crucial to promote ties between the two countries,” Park told her Japanese guests during the meeting.
Meanwhile, news reports said Park might embark on her first overseas trip to the U.S. between April and June. Traditionally, South Korean presidents have visited the biggest ally as the first destination after taking office.
Former President Lee Myung-bak, for instance, visited Washington on April 19, 2008, while former President Roh Moo-hyun made his U.S. visit in May 14, 2003. The presidents then visited Japan, China and Russia.
By Lee Joo-hee (firstname.lastname@example.org)