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Seoul Urges Washington’s Cooperation for Beef Safety

Posted May. 17, 2008 04:21,   


U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said yesterday, “U.S. beef has the finest standards, quality and safety in the world, second to none. The beef which we will be selling to Korea is the same beef that we all buy in the United States, that we feed our children in the United States.”

Gutierrez spoke to reporters before a luncheon at Marriott Hotel in southern Seoul, hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea.

Regarding the controversy on U.S. beef in Korea, he said, “The issue is being treated with much emotion, but it should be debated based on science and facts.”

On the possibility of renegotiation, he said, “The sovereignty of a nation is guaranteed and people have the right to consume safe food, but we don`t believe the agreement needs to be negotiated.”

According to the deputy presidential spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye, President Lee Myung-bak met with the U.S. official in the morning and said, “These days, the Korean people are very concerned about the resumption of U.S. beef imports and food safety. We ask the U.S. government to cooperate and make hard efforts to relieve the worries of Koreans.”

“We are well aware that many Koreans are worried about U.S. beef,” said Gutierrez, nodding in agreement. “We’ll give explanations to relieve the worries and ask them to understand.”

While Cheong Wa Dae clarified that the U.S. Commerce Secretary is in no position to direct the issues related to beef, some predicted that the visit could lead to the inclusion of a written provision on import suspension in case of a mad cow disease breakout in the bulletin on food sanitation.

bae2150@donga.com swpark@donga.com