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FM reiterates Yoon's participation in NATO summit does not target China

22:32 July 02, 2022

SEOUL, July 2 (Yonhap) -- Foreign Minister Park Jin on Saturday reiterated the government's earlier explanation that President Yoon Suk-yeol's participation in a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) does not target China, refuting claims that Yoon's latest trip is about taking an anti-China stance.

Yoon became the first South Korean president to attend a NATO summit after he took part in the gathering in Madrid earlier this week. South Korea is not a member of NATO but was invited to the summit along with Japan, Australia and New Zealand as the organization's Asia-Pacific partners.

China has opposed Asia-Pacific nations, including South Korea, attending the NATO gathering.

Some critics claimed Yoon's address at the NATO summit, which highlighted universal values respected by the international community, such as freedom and peace, targeted not only Russia but also China, though the presidential office has denied such views.

"China is a country that has benefited the most from liberalism trade," Park said in an interview with local cable broadcaster Channel A. "I think joining the international order can be helpful to China as well.

This file photo taken June 16, 2022, shows Foreign Minister Park Jin at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, west of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Asked about the possibility of South Korea, Japan and the United States conducting joint military drills against North Korea's provocations, Park said such a plan can be reviewed.

"We need cooperation to alert, trace and detect in advance if North Korea is to fire missiles," he said.

Park added it is difficult to forejudge the timing of the North's seventh nuclear test but believes Pyongyang would make its decision after considering surrounding circumstances.

"The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will come up with a new resolution on sanctions if North Korea makes provocations, and the North can't possibly have not known about this," he said. "China and Russia, the UNSC permanent members, are also concerned about North Korea's additional provocations, so I think the North would make its decision after looking at the circumstances."

kdon@yna.co.kr
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