U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her South Korean counterpart vowed on Thursday to support deterrence against North Korea and achieve its denuclearisation.
“Both sides expressed concerns about the dire situation of North Korea’s growing threat,” Pelosi and South Korea’s National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo said in a joint statement after meeting in Seoul.
“We agreed to support the efforts of the two governments to achieve practical denuclearisation and peace through international cooperation and diplomatic dialogue, based on the strong and extended deterrence against the North.”
Pelosi also said at a news conference that she and Kim discussed ways to boost cooperation on regional security and economic and climate issues.
Pelosi arrived in South Korea late on Wednesday following a brief stop in self-ruled Taiwan to the fury of China.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol did not meet Pelosi due to his scheduled vacation this week, but held a 40-minute phone call with her where he promised close cooperation with the U.S. Congress, Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo said.
The presidential office in a separate press release said Yoon, during the phone call, expressed his hopes to meet Pelosi when he visits the United States.
South Korean media speculated that Yoon could be shunning meeting Pelosi in person to avoid antagonising China, after her visit to Taiwan outraged Beijing, which claims the self-governed island as its own.
Choi Young-bum, senior presidential secretary for public relations, told reporters that “every decision was made in consideration of our national interest”, and that there will be no change in prioritising the South Korea-U.S. alliance.
Late Thursday night, Pelosi arrived in Japan, which earlier in the day said five Chinese ballistic missiles landed within its exclusive economic zone, part of military exercises launched by Beijing in response to her Taiwan visit.
Pelosi is scheduled to hold a breakfast meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday.
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