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Foreign Ministers From South Korea And France Vow To Work Together To Confront Nuclear Crisis In The North

by Jesse L. / Mar 24, 2016 05:04 PM EDT
French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault (left) and his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-Se look around a traditional Korean house before their meeting at the Korea Furniture Museum in Seoul on March 24.
French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault (left) shakes hands with his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung Se during their meeting at the Korea Furniture Museum in Seoul on March 24.

South Korean foreign minister Yun Byung Se and France's minister of foreign affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault held a joint press conference at the Korea Furniture Museum in Seoul on Thursday, where to two government officials reaffirmed their country's cooperation in dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat.

"North Korea, from the outset of the year, is threatening the entire world with its fourth nuclear test, which was followed by the launch of a long-range ballistic missile," Yun said, a reference to a nuclear test conducted by Kim Jong Un's government on Jan. 6 and a rocket launch on Feb. 7, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

"In order to make North Korea realize that it can't survive by developing nuclear weapons and that it should sincerely choose the path to denuclearization, we need to put strong pressure on the North through the faithful implementation of the Security Council resolution. For this, South Korea plans to closely cooperate with France, which is a permanent member of the Security Council and a key nation of the EU."

In addition to the nuclear threat, the South Korean foreign minister pointed to residents in the North risking death for a "life as humans" as proof of oppression from a fascist dictatorship.

"This strongly demonstrates, more than any words, the North Korean regime's oppressive rule and repressive human rights situation," Yun said.

Ayrault, in the Asian nation for three days, described a deeply affecting experience meeting North Korean defectors earlier in the day. He told the crowd of reporters that Pyongyang's recent aggression, including a threat earlier this week to reduce the South to "flames and ashes," as reported by the North's Korean Central News Agency, has only strengthened the bond between Seoul and Paris.

"This strengthens France's resolve that we should act together with South Korea, in the UN framework and in the EU framework, so that sanctions are effectively implemented and further strengthened to force the North Korean regime to step back and that, at last, we can put an end to this unbearable situation," he said.

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