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[Minister Lee Jong-sup’s address at the 19th Asia Security Summit] “We stand firm in our goal to establish a peace regime on th....

In his address at the 19th Asia Security Summit,

Minister Lee Jong-sup highlights strengthening of the US’s extended deterrence and trilateral cooperation between the ROK, US and Japan;

expanding cooperation with ASEAN and European security bodies;

the ROK’s role in security as a global pivotal state

[Minister Lee Jong-seop’s address at the 19th Asia

On June 12, Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup underscored that “our goal of the complete and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea to establish a sustainable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula will remain firm and robust.”


In his address, titled ‘Denuclearization of North Korea and Security in the Indo-Pacific Region,’ which he gave at the 19th Asia Security Summit (Shangri-La Dialogue) held in Singapore on Sunday, Lee stated that the government will “never give up on its goal of establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula through the complete denuclearization of North Korea.”


In his address, Lee conveyed the ROK government’s will to denuclearize North Korea and play a role in security as a pivotal global state to the international community. Lee defined North Korea’s qualitatively and quantitatively evolving missile provocations and its preparations for a seventh nuclear test as "serious challenges" threatening peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as in the broader international community. “To this end, we will set forth clear corresponding measures with the international community to pursue the denuclearization of North Korea,” Lee said.


Significantly, Lee clarified that the government is working on a peaceful solution, highlighting the government’s pursuit of a ‘bold plan’ that can yield groundbreaking improvements for North Korea’s economy and its citizens’ quality of life, provided that North Korea sets out a practical path to denuclearization, as President Yoon Suk Yeol made clear.


Lee stressed that such a drive will proceed from a “position of strength.”

“Our government will work to reinforce efforts to implement US’s extended deterrence and the ROK military’s capabilities to respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats,” Lee said. “We will also strengthen ROK-US-Japan trilateral security cooperation to respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats,” Lee added, expressing the government’s intent to “engage in a serious dialogue with Japan, not only to normalize the security cooperation between our two countries but also to beef up the trilateral security cooperation between the ROK, US, and Japan.”


Lee also explained that the government is working on three plans to contribute to ensuring security required in the Indo-Pacific region, which are security cooperation with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), expanding security cooperation with nations outside the region including Europe, and cooperation with security bodies in the Indo-Pacific region, stressing that the ROK is a pivotal global state.


“The ultimate goal of small and multilateral bodies, such as ROK-ASEAN cooperation and QUAD, is to ensure the faithful implementation of ‘rules-based international order’ in the Indo-Pacific region,” Lee said, adding that “based on principles of openness, transparency and inclusiveness, the ROK plans to expand cooperation with various regional security bodies in the Indo-Pacific region.”


Regarding the Ukraine crisis, Lee expressed his hope for the restoration of peace in Ukraine, saying that the invasion “cannot be justified.”


In response, an official from the ministry added that “Lee’s address put an emphasis on the need for support from and close cooperation with the international community to respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, as the instability of the Korean Peninsula brought on by North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats is inseparable from the overall security of Northeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific region.”

By Chul-Hwan, Kim < >

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