South Korea and the United States are closely coordinating their approach toward North Korea based on a mutual sense of urgency against its nuclear and missile threats, the foreign ministry said Tuesday, amid worries that Seoul could be bypassed in relevant discussions.
"The governments of South Korea and the U.S. are coordinating more than ever on all issues and at every level related to the North and its nuclear problem based on their shared recognition of severity and urgency," Cho June-hyuck, foreign ministry spokesman, said at a regular press briefing.
"Through a summit and a phone conversation between the foreign ministers of the two countries, we have had in-depth discussions on countermeasures against the North's strategic provocations including launches of ballistic missiles," he added.
His affirmation of the strong alliance between the two countries is apparently aimed at dispelling worries that South Korea could be bypassed in the process of discussion led by the U.S. and China over how to deal with the North's nuclear problem.
The worries were sparked after the New York Times earlier reported that former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had made a proposal to the Donald Trump administration to "first come to an agreement with China about what follows after the collapse of the North Korean regime."
Cho dismissed a possible "regime change" suggested by Kissinger in the article, suggesting that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made it clear on several occasions that the U.S. will not seek a regime change or its collapse.
The spokesman said that the two countries will continue to seek necessary discussions with the U.S. in "diverse forms" by using the upcoming ASEAN foreign ministerial meetings to be held in the Philippines early next week. (Yonhap)